Ah, the sweet smell of success! Achieving goals and bringing our vision to fruition is the end-game for most of us, especially in our business lives. Unfortunately, success can sometimes elude us to the point where we have to start looking at what, exactly, is going wrong. Perhaps, though, the question we ought to be asking is this: What is going right? By honing in on what is bringing you or your company the results you want, instead of focusing on the things that are taking you further from where you want to be, you can discover your sweet spot—the place where you can find true success.
So how do you find your sweet spot? We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s define what we mean by sweet spot. The sweet spot (for an individual or a business) is the intersection of the things that you are good at and come (relatively) easily to you or your team, and the things that the market (or an employer) is willing to pay for.
Finding your sweet spot as an individual professional and as a business owner is important because it allows you to operate with efficiency, strength and, usually, profitability. Surprisingly, many people and even entire companies continue to struggle without ever finding or leveraging their sweet spot. If you haven’t found your sweet spot yet, then now is the perfect time to start looking by following these four steps:
1. Cultivate your core competencies
Finding your sweet spot is really an inside job. It’s not about trying to add to what you have, it’s about leveraging your existing core competencies. You (or your business) made it this far, so you must have some valuable competencies that you can leverage into a viable career, company, or new product or service.
2. Seize on your strengths
Making a list of what you love to do (or what your company does well and profitably) is a great way to hone in on your strengths and identify your sweet spot. Maybe you love to design websites, create winning proposals, sell, write, do financial analysis, or sew cushions—whatever it is, it’s likely something that can lead you to your sweet spot. The other important thing to keep in mind is that you need to match up your strongest skills and talents with market demand. For example, while you may love to crochet potholders, the market may not support building an entire empire on that one activity alone.
3. Listen to your fans
Do people always tell you that you have an aptitude for art? Or do your customers rave about the unique flavors of cupcakes that your bakery only offers periodically? Make notes about what people praise you or your business for—and chances are, the exceptional things that others notice likely reside at the center of your sweet spot.
4. Start seeing your sweet spot
Now that you’ve identified your core competencies, your strengths, and the things that you are objectively good at (according to your fans), put them all together and start seeing where your sweet spot lies. Once you do this, consider if there are things that you are innately good at that can be monetized (i.e. people have a need for what it is you provide and will pay decent money for it). Once you have these figured out, create a plan to bring them to market. (Or, if you’re an individual, highlight them on your resume.)
If you’re seeking success and it seems to be eluding you, consider working toward identifying your sweet spot…the place where the things that you (or your team) are good at and the things that the market (or an employer) is willing to pay for come together in sweet harmony. While it may take a little bit of work on your part, the dividends of doing something you truly love and are well-suited for will be well worth the effort.