Why knowing your weaknesses is more powerful than knowing your strengths
Admitting that you have weaknesses sucks. And listing all of them for an in-depth analysis is even more daunting. We have been encouraged to learn and leverage our strengths at work and in even in our personal lives. Playing to our strengths is definitely a viable strategy when it comes to building a business and developing a brand. That said, knowing your weaknesses can help you avoid misrepresentation, become more innovative and improve on what is lacking in your business.
STOP THE DENIAL
The first sentence of this post is what keeps most of us in denial about our present reality. Working with our clients on their SWOT analysis was a revelation on how people shy away from describing their brand’s or business’ weaknesses. They create long lists of strengths, opportunities and even threats, but the weakness list is generally short and vague. I can only assume that weaknesses are perceived as criticism. And who wants to voluntarily give ammunition for that? However, the reality is that we need to know what our real circumstances, skills and resources are so we can create the right marketing strategy to achieve our business goals.
ASSESS YOUR SITUATION
Listing your weaknesses is not a pointless form of self-punishment. It is important to assess your situation, because you may find that you are lacking some skills that can be easily acquired or improved upon. You can also learn that you have certain limitations that prevent you to get from point A to point B quickly and you will have to plan accordingly. It especially comes in handy when you are building your brand, because the last thing you want to do is promise something that you will not be able to deliver and misrepresent yourself.
ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
This form of reality check can cause frustration, but it can also fuel your creativity. You can find a new way to market your business, maybe not through the same channels that were originally described in your business plan, but even more effective ones. “Necessity is the mother of invention” says an English proverb, and you need to grow and market your business with the resources and skills that you really have, not the ones you think you have.
BE HONEST, BUT DON'T SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT
Authentic brands have proven to gain more customer loyalty than others. And customer loyalty is probably high on your marketing goals list. Being honest doesn’t mean that you have to be open about your weaknesses. You just need to be aware of them so they will not interfere with your brand perception. Don’t incorporate them into the promise you make to your customers just because your competition does. Think if it is something that you can really deliver and build your messaging accordingly.
So before you play to your strengths, know your weaknesses. Really think about them when you are working on your SWOT analysis and see how you can use them for your strategic advantage. Start by listing 5 main ones and decide how you can work with them.