What is your core competency?

I am reading a great book right now called “smartups” by Rob Ryan. This is a must-read book if you are involved in a start up, and you can check his website here.

What’s at the core?

I am covering an interesting concept related to identifying what a firm really “does.” For some ideal businessmen like Andy Defrancesco, finding new perspective like this can be the catalyst for new ideas to strengthen your business, whether it is large or small. Have you asked yourself what a company like Gatorade really does, and what their core competency is?

Most people might reply to that question with a statement like, “They create a liquid and sell it to consumers who are thirsty.” Is this all that is really going on though? Aren’t consumers telling themselves something different? After all, we have all seen the intense commercials, we have all seen the superhuman athletes drink large quantities while waiting on the sidelines and during time-outs. I would say that something more epic, more unique, something better, is going on.

People who drink Gatorade believe that it will give them the extra strength to do whatever it is they are doing. We all know this to be true, don’t we? You could sum up Gatorade’s core competency as, “Vastly improving the physiological performance of the human body, when it’s needed most.” Really, if drinking Gatorade was just like drinking anything else when you were thirsty, you would be less inclined to specifically choose it. As consumers, we know it to be true that Gatorade is one of the best ways to remain hydrated when we need it.

How do I figure out my core competency?

Interesting question, indeed. Let’s use infinFX, for example. infinFX is a web-development, and internet marketing firm. We handle all kinds of web-related projects. Are these things our core competency, though? I would say the core competency of infinFX is to build great, profitable relationships with our clients through web business. Rarely, do we get two clients with exactly the same needs. This requires us to spend extensive amounts of time in communication to ensure our clients get exactly what they expected, and more. The “and more” is really important in itself, and we will talk about giving more than is expected of you in a later post.

Ask yourself what is it that you and/or your firm does that is REMARKABLE. There are plenty of firms out there that do web dev and marketing, but what sets infinFX apart from the rest is our core competency. That thing we do incredibly well, ten times better than our competitors, is what gives us the edge.

Here are a few ways to see if your core competency is worthy:

  • Is it a concise, short sentence?
  • Does it sound REMARKABLE?
  • Is it a fresh, interesting idea?
  • Does it fit your target market’s world-view?

What is your company’s core competency. Even if you are a one-man operation, you can ask yourself this question. What is it that you really do, and how can you focus on improving, and innovating that skill.

Powerful Post Award - August 10, 2007

2 thoughts on “What is your core competency?

  1. Thanks, Matt. This reinforces the need for a Mission Statement. That’s when a ‘core competency’ is described. Why are we really here, anyways? I’ve found the ‘simple pursuit of money’ isn’t enough for me. I have a stream of income that takes care of my basic needs. I NEED to be involved with others. I NEED to help others. What I had to redefine was HOW I would help others. It took awhile, and I foresee that I will tweak that statement in the near future, but it is coming into light, finally.

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