When I was in high school I decided to take up dance. This was following a long hiatus after I quit my first ballet class back in second grade. As a 15-year-old novice, I loved the movement and the excitement of dance, but I really didn’t know what I was doing.
In my youthful enthusiasm, I failed to realize how far off balance I was until one day when we had a substitute teacher. As he was putting us through our paces he kept yelling at the class, “Find your center! Find your center!”
At first I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I just thought “Wow, this guy is in a really bad mood!” And then it dawned on me, he was talking about our center of gravity.
I never made it as a dancer but I did learn something important that day in class: there is no way to balance on one foot – or even two – without understanding at some intuitive level where your center of gravity is.
As a business owner there is plenty of pressure to be everything to everyone. If things aren’t going well, we grab at business wherever it pops up. We want our employees to be happy, our suppliers to value working with us, our investors to be pleased with the return on their investment.
Unfortunately, dancing around trying to please everyone doesn’t help you to be more successful. It throws you further off balance, often precipitating a painful fall.
Doing too much is like trying to balance on one foot without understanding where your center is. Just like a dancer, every business has a core, a center of gravity. It’s the place where what you do lines up perfectly with what your customers need.
A client I was speaking with the other day expressed his belief that, “If you try to be great at two many things, you end up being terrible at everything.” There’s some truth to that philosophy.
How can any one person or any single company to fill every need, every desire, or every customers? It’s impossible.
Even the largest conglomerate cannot accomplish this and certainly a small business, solopreneur or startup can’t make it happen.
For your business to thrive, you must understand your sweet spot and make the most of it. Where is that center of gravity were you do your best work? What is the core from which you can extend your influence?
There will certainly be times when you’re off-balance, when you’re reaching and stretching trying to achieve a new goal. As people grow from children to adulthood, our center of gravity shifts. The center of a business can evolve as well. What’s most important is to understand where that center is from day to day, month-to-month, and year-to-year.
Accomplished dancers can do amazing things. At times they seem to defy gravity, flying through the air and twirling in all kinds of unexpected directions. What appears to the casual observer like an amazing feat is actually an experienced professional using gravity to their advantage.
You can do the same in your business if you know where to start.
Is Your Business Off Balance? You need to discover where your center is. Here are three things that you can do to find your center:
First look at things like the skills and knowledge that you and your business possess. What you bring to the table that sets you apart? What can you offer that no one else can?
Next, consider your markets. Who are you selling to (target market) and who is your ideal customer? These are the people who need what you have to offer.
Finally, consider delivery: how to provide what you offer so well to the people who need it so much. There are many ways to deliver products and services. What can you do to differentiate the your customer experience?
When you put these three things together, you’ll get a good sense of where the center of gravity is for your business. It resides at the intersection between your abilities, customer needs and the method of matching them up. This is where your business should focus, because it’s the easiest and most compelling way to create success.
Photo by Andy Stafiniak via SXC.HU