By Erica Wolfe-Murray
When I start working with a new client, one of the questions that causes most pause for thought is when I ask them to reveal their passions, their skills and their talents.
The easy, flowing conversation comes to a grinding halt. They cast around looking to their surroundings for inspiration, before asking me to explain what I mean and why it’s important to the growth of their business.
Let’s start with passions.
Passions sit at the very core of your being. Somewhere around the solar plexus. They are your reason for being, what gets you up in the morning, makes your day sing. They contribute to your purpose in life.
Those I hear regularly include travel, family, entertaining, music. One of my deepest passions is creativity. I am fortunate to work with some of the most creative people in this country – my passion is at the core of my working day.
Being able to build a business with something you are passionate about at its centre will give it a much greater chance of success because you have a fundamental belief in what you are doing, will be able to speak about it fluently, engage others in your journey, make it happen.
We then move on to skills. These are things you have learned how to do. Languages might be on this list. Coding, book-keeping, film-making, playing an instrument – all of these could feature. You pick up many of your skills as you progress through education, career moves, hobbies and holidays. There are times when skills can be hard to spot because you are using them innately, without thinking, they have become part of you.
Understanding your own skills and those of others is a key element in being a successful business owner. Seeing the skills that team members bring to the table, harnessing them appropriately to ensure you have everyone working to their best ability is fundamental to good company management. I encourage business owners to revisit the cvs of employees, to see if they have overlooked skills that could be useful. And, of course, as new interests form, new ideas emerge, people will be continually adding to their list of skills. Ensure you know what these are.
And the importance of an active professional development plan can’t be overstated. This allows you and a team member to consider what new skills they would like to develop which could benefit the company. And plan the support they might need to gain those skills. Whether the learning happens online, at a local college, or a short course or workshop, helping them add skills to their list will make working with your business more attractive in any market where skills are at a premium.
And finally we come to talents.
Talents always make me smile. In life, talents seem to be the things you just trip over, only to discover you’re innately really good at. Giving rise to a ‘who would have suspected it?’ thought. But the other amazing thing about talents is that you will go on finding new ones until the day you die. As you continue to try new experiences, learn new skills, open doors to new thinking, there will be areas you really excel at which come ‘naturally’ to you. These are your talents.
Writing a list of these takes time – we forget them, overlook them or have moved on from them in some way. But in that list there will be some talents that you can build on, use fruitfully to engage others in what you do, whether commercially or just outside of work.
One of my unexpected talents was public speaking. I’m very comfortable talking in front of people, whether in small groups or at conferences. Although an audience of 2,000 did make me quail a bit. But it is a talent I use to help others understand how to grow their businesses and develop commercial resilience – something I am passionate about.
As Learn Something New Week reminds us each year, finding out a bit more about who you are, what makes you and your team tick through looking at your passions, skills and talents, can help build your business. But it can also encourage you to look at what additional skills you’d like to learn because constantly adding to this list enriches life and makes it more fulfilling.
Erica’s new book ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas : Build a Bigger, Better Business’ is full of her usual easy-to-use advice, lots of case studies, quick tips, diagrams and innovative ways to think about growing your business and developing greater commercial resilience. Its 288 full colour pages will help you transform your business. With only 5* reviews, it is available from Amazon, all good booksellers and from her website www.ericawolfemurray.co.uk.
About the author
Erica Wolfe-Murray is the UK’s leading business expert and the founder of Lola-Media.co.uk.
Her new book ‘Simple Tips Smart Ideas‘ is out now.