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Turning your Weaknesses into Strength and Threats into Opportunities

Nice post over at Jason’s blog on Turning your biggest weakness into your greatest strength – in it Jason talks about how Weblogs Inc’s biggest weakness was always servers going down (I hear his pain) but that this past week or so has seen them kicking some goals in that area – especially after CES and MacWorld’s keynote adress when Engadget was getting serving up to 87,000 pages per minute (imagine their CPM figures!).

‘One of the best feelings in business/life is to turn your biggest flaw into your biggest strength. That’s one of the things I love to do… figure out what we really suck at and figure out how to make that the thing we’re best at (I’m going to come up with a term for it). We just did that: three months ago our server skills were the worst in the industry, now our server skills are second to none.’

Jason’s just said something pretty obvious about growing a business, but also something quite profound. Paraphrased tip of the day:

‘Figure out what you really suck at and figure out how to make that the thing you’re best at.’

I don’t remember much of my university days (I studied Marketing) but there is one statement that one of my lecturers said that has run in my ears ever since. It was with reference to SWOT Analysis (where you analyze a businesses Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). The statement was that one of the key things he’d learned in business was to look at Weaknesses as potential Strengths and Threats as potential Opportunities. The point he hammered home was that if you can even just begin to think this way that you’ll begin to see result – if you can actually achieve success in it you’ll grow your business.

Jason and my lecturer are saying the same thing.

As I said – it’s pretty obvious really but something that I know from my own experience that is easy to ignore. Laziness, fear, the size of the task, lack of resources, time or skills – all of these things and more can hold a blogger back from tackling a problem on their blog – the challenge is to break through them and actually do something.

As I look across my own blogs I can see some glaring problems on a few of them that I’ve been procrastinating about for a few months – maybe it’s time to do the obvious and fix them.

PS: As I sit here reminiscing on my University days I find myself remembering a few other things that my lecturer said about SWOT analysis (this may or may not be of interest to all – so feel free to tune out if you like).

Strengths and Weaknesses are generally internal things within your company. In Jason’s case the server problem is an internal thing that has potential to bring down WIN and is therefor a weakness.

On the other hand Opportunities and Threats are generally external things, often outside the control of the business themselves, that can make or break a company. For example a threat that faces WIN might be the rise of a new technology that means people find their content in other places than online.

One of the bonuses about Threats is that quite often they are things that not only impact your own business but an industry (where as a weakness can be unique to your own business). This means that if you can actually turn a Threat into an Opportunity and realize that Opportunity you have the potential to pull away from the competition. Many companies have made names for themselves on this principle of business.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Leon says:

    Informative post. Funny, I just started management class today. What many bloggers fail to do is take their blogs seriously, as if they were businesses. Many post and hope folks will magically visit.

  2. chris says:

    I have found this to be true. I also see to many companies either not looking outside there company or spending to much time looking outside. I do the latter way to much. I think as a business or individual you will not suck at things that are important to your success if you have balance in your focus. Makes turning weakness less of a priority.

  3. Ryan says:

    Thanks. I have been reading through your site and have been trying to use what you say as pointers on my site.
    ———-
    -Ryan
    http://www.cybernetnews.com

  4. SWOT is such a standard business planning tool, you’d think major record labels could have by now figured out the opportunities hidden in the “threat” of the new distribution possibilities provided by the internet.

  5. Joseph Baker says:

    Great article! I really needed the pick-me up, I toldly understand because of my own weakness. I have no problem when it comes to the Business, Advertising, Marketing, Managment, I know it like the back of my hand. My weakness is the Tech side of things. But, I always try to do things myself, I may need to go back to school on this one? Who knows with help from sites like this one and hard work anything can happen.

    Thanks again,
    Joey Baker

  6. Mike Inkster says:

    Great article here. It does make sense to me, that many would be marketers out there belive that they will make money by being a puppet.(Am One of them for now)
    Many of us do not read the complete story, or see our own weakness.
    My weakness is lack of education (grade 9 only). A great strength of mone was being able to learn to do things, that I enjoyed.
    Have ran own business (niche market in mid-range towing) before and suceeded in it.
    Now I am going start another business to show others that it can be done in another niche. My mentors are well known, some are gone and others our still here. Have read some of there history. (Dave Thomas,Col Sanders,Bill Gates and others.)

    Thank you

  7. Bryan says:

    Great reminder article Darren. Being able to spot weaknesses and then focus on them until they are strengths is key to growing any business larger. I think that the threats/opportunities discussion was most pointed though. Starting and running a small business can cause anyone to get internally focused and forget to even look for threats outside the business.

    Leon – excellent point. A lot of people aspire to reach success and wealth through the many low-barrier-to-entry type businesses (i.e. real estate, websites, etc.) but they never actually understand that it is a business, not a hobby. I think that many times “The Gurus” that teach courses on these topics make them sound so great and easy that most people don’t expect to have to work very hard. When they try to get into it, they are completely overwhelmed by the details that actually go into making one of these ventures work.