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What you need to know about Skills and Strategy

If you want to see massively better results in your business and achieve more progress than ever before, you will find today’s post extremely useful.

The Skills / Strategy challenge

One of the reasons small business owners often work hard, for too little reward, is that they confuse skills with strategy. The difference was summed up brilliantly by Jim Rohn:

Success is 20% skills and 80% strategy. You might know how to read, but more importantly, what’s your plan to read? ~ Jim Rohn

In my experience, when it comes to marketing, most small business owners score well on skills and poorly on strategy. They know how to do the mechanics (the 20%) of marketing, yet they see a fraction of the results they should be getting, because they are missing the strategy (the 80% that makes all the difference.)

Right skills, wrong strategy

Unaware that their lack of an effective strategy is losing them a fortune, they carry on doing the right things, incorrectly.

Some extremely common examples:

  • They may know how to set up a Twitter or Facebook account, but lack the strategy to transfer their time and effort, into bankable results.
  • They may know how to publish a newsletter, but lack the strategy to turn it into a rapidly growing source of sales and business leads.
  • They may know how to answer the phone professionally, but lack the strategy to transfer enough inbound inquiries into sales or new clients.
  • They may know how to set up a blog, but lack the strategy to get thousands of people reading it and talking about it to their friends.
  • They may know how to write a marketing message, but lack the strategy to inspire people to read it or compel readers to take action.
  • So, they say they tried (whatever type of marketing) ‘but it doesn’t work’. It does work – but not if you’re doing it incorrectly!

Here’s the thing: Very, very few small business owners have an effective strategy for any of their marketing. They simply copy what they see others doing – even though the people they copy are equally baffled and are also following what THEY see others doing.

Get strategic

Einstein once said that insanity was repeating the same task, and expecting different results. Unless you want 2013 to be a rerun of 2012, get strategic. Learn what you need to do and learn how to do it correctly.

About Jim Connolly: I help small business owners grow their business, make more sales and boost their profits. To see how I can help you and your business, read this.

16 Comments

  1. This is a great post for me Jim.

    If anyone doubts the truth of this just look at the way people in business use Facebook and how piss poor their newsletters are. It’s like they know they’re supposed to be doing SOMETHING buy they don’t know how, so they make it up as they go.

    • Hey Henry. Welcome to the blog.

      The very fact so many small business owners build their connections on Facebook and have their conversations there, shows they don’t get it. They have little control over Facebook and offering control of their *list* to Facebook is insane. Facebook has a nasty habit of changing the rules and recently confirmed that only some of your ‘Facebook Fans’ can see your updates unless you pay for a promoted posts!

      Thanks for sharing your feedback, sir.

  2. It’s a great article….
    To add to what u have written, I feel that the will to implement the strategy is equally important. You can strategize all you want but if you dont know how to put your strategy into action, you aren’t going to get anywhere with your efforts. What do you say?

  3. hey..really a nice post and you will surely help a lot to the persons in their work. related to your niche i think that what nowdays guyz need to learn is not only how can they do the work but how can they do the work smartly and can stand out of the crowd.

  4. Hi Jim,
    Sometimes the best strategies are the simplest, even if they take some time to work out and need periodic modification. This doesn’t always require you to possess the highest possible skill level, simply a good handle on how to implement the strategy and measure its effectiveness over time.

    • I’d take that one step further, Heather – the best strategies are usually the simplest ones. They still need developing though, and looking at small business survival rates, very, very few small business owners have found them.

      Thanks for the feedback and welcome to the blog.

  5. Hi Jim,

    I completely agree with you on this Jim, strategy is so important.

    Businesses need to make more time for actually researching and planning their strategies.

    I’ve worked with a lot of businesses that do pretty much everything you describe in this post.

    They usually just jump on the band wagon and expect to see results.

    The problem that I notice most small businesses having is that the owner will spend so much time working “in” their business, that they have no time to work “on” their business … sometimes it just can’t be helped which is why systems are important.

    Once they get to the point where they can look at their business and say “well, I could go on holiday for a few weeks and it will be fine when I get back” then they will be able to make the move to working “on” the business and start working on planning out some powerful marketing strategies.

    At that point the business will grow and prosper.

    At the very least it’s a great argument for outsourcing the marketing and SEO when they don’t have time for it or just don’t know how to do it.

    • Hi Adam. You make some good points there.

      Many small business owners stay small, because they are frightened to hire the expert help they need.

      Jumping on the ‘me too’ bandwagon, as you say, seldom if ever works.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  6. The biggest mistake I ever made when I started out was copying what mature businesses were doing. Kind of hard to get noticed that way. :)

    Cheers Jim.

  7. Great work differentiating the 2 concepts and presenting practical examples; Essentially, what you are saying is “to do the work that matters”.

    It is human nature to often get carried away with what we are good at; Sometimes when you watch The Apprentice, you can clearly see how teams lose tasks, because they focus on producing a great ad, while neglecting the main goal of the project (profitability).

    One way of getting on track, is to schedule some time-out from your normal routine of life, to analyze things. Remind yourself of your long term goals and see if what you are currently doing will help you achieve that. Create strategies to realign why you want to change and repeat the process every now and then.

  8. Connolly, you have wrote a very good post, it is very helpful for newbie marketer such as me, i got “strategy is the key for a successful business “

  9. As I stated on your subsequent notice, skills and strategy are important. But, so is luck- and most importantly- execution!

    • Hi, Roy. The quote relates to the percentage of Skills to strategy. Not, skills to execution or luck. Thanks for the feedback.

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