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We all have our weaknesses, that’s a fact. And as business owners, these can present as:

“I am just a small business; how can I offer the same prices as my bigger competitors?”

“I’m terrible with the dollars and cents, financials are not really my strong point.”

“My staff are not very good at selling product.”

“I wish I could catch-up with technology, it’s not really my thing.”

These weaknesses can intimidate us, but everyone always has room for improvement. What we need is the right mindset to discover our strengths and not dwell on our weaknesses.

I recently read a story about a young boy who decided to study Judo, despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in an accident. The boy began lessons with an old Judo Master Sensei. He was doing well, but he couldn’t understand why after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” he asked. “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the Sensei replied.

Several months later, the Sensei took the boy to his first tournament. His opponent was bigger, stronger and more experienced, but he made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his only move to pin him. The boy won the match and the tournament.

On the way home the boy asked, “Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”    “You won for two reasons,” the Sensei answered. “First, you have mastered one of the most difficult throws in Judo. And second, the only defence for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

So what is your “left arm”? And how can you use it to win in business and in life?

Having a complete understanding of where your business is strong and where it is weak is a challenge – but very valuable information if you want to differentiate yourself and your business in the market. How do you rate compared to your competitors? How does your industry compare to related industries? What are the shortcomings of your competitors that you think you could exploit?

An American restaurant had the same challenge. Dick’s Last Resort is a restaurant chain known for its obnoxious staff. Like all restaurants, they strive to create the perfect dining experience for their customers. But instead of fixing the problem of rude waiters – Dick’s Last Resort capitalised on it and trained their staff to be rude. Patrons can expect to be made fun of and put in uncomfortable situations, all in the name of fun. Turning this rude behaviour into an art form has increased patronage to the restaurant, with customers providing word of mouth marketing that keeps people coming back for more fun dining experiences.

To deal with your weak spots, ask yourself: “Can I change it? If not, can I exploit it to my benefit? How can I embrace the weaknesses I can’t change?”

You may not realise it, but sometimes your weaknesses can become your biggest strengths. You just need to change your mindset so you can modify, exploit or embrace them to your advantage.

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