Are you hitting your business sweet spot?

When a baseball player makes a big hit, it’s because he hit the ball with the sweet spot of the bat – that’s the part of the wood that generates the most output (for the same effort). Which means the ball travels farther and faster than if you hit it anywhere else.

The same thing happens in business. Have you ever had an experience in your business where everything just clicked…where it all just felt really easy? That’s when you’re operating in your sweet spot.

Conversely if you’re not operating in your sweet spot, if you’re hitting on the wrong part of the bat, then it’s not going to feel right. Success is going to be difficult, almost like you’re going uphill and dragging a weight behind you.

That’s what Mike Michalowicz was thinking of when he talked about defining the ‘Sweet Spot for Colossal Business Growth’ in his book ‘The Pumpkin Plan‘.  There are a lot of great ideas in the book, but this one really resonates with me – and it’s something every business owner ought to at least think about as they work on growing or improving their business.

Michalowicz uses a Venn diagram to illustrate his idea of what the Sweet Spot is:

Business Growth Sweet Spot as explained by Mike Michalowicz

Business Growth Sweet Spot as explained by Mike Michalowicz in The Pumpkin Plan

Obviously the sweet spot is where the 3 areas intersect – so if you don’t have all 3 of these things figured out, then you won’t be in the sweet spot.

1. Unique Offering

It all starts with what you sell – it has to be different than what’s already available in the marketplace or you’re never going to get noticed or make any traction. As a small business owner, the best way to do that is to play to your strengths. Maybe you’re a great plumber who knows so much that you teach other plumbers how to do stuff. Your unique offering might be ‘Solving the really hard plumbing problems’ (for a premium price of course). Maybe you’re a great plumber who also happens to be really good at talking to clients – then maybe there’s a way to build around the idea of the ‘Friendly Plumber’.  Whatever it is, you need to find a way to make it different in a meaningful way.

2. Top Clients

A unique offering doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have anyone that wants to buy it.  And more importantly, as a small business owner, you don’t want to work with just any clients…you want to work with the BEST clients. The ones who love you, the ones who really value your unique offering and are happy to pay you for it. *Note – there’s a need to develop your unique offering with your best clients in mind, it’s likely they can tell you how you stand out and what they’re happy to pay you for…and it’s not necessarily the base service you provide. What other problems can you help them solve?

3. Systems

Finally – if you’re really going to be able to grow successfully, you have to be able to deliver your unique offering to your top clients in a systematized way that ultimately doesn’t require your time as the business owner. If you have to be present to deliver the service or product, then you don’t really have a business, you have a job…and ultimately your growth is capped by the number of hours in your day.

There are a lot of things I like about this model – for starters it clearly illustrates the importance of defining what you offer, who you work best with and having a clear approach on how you do the work. That’s the foundation of any successful business and if that part is wrong things are going to be difficult.

It also acts as a great filter to compare your business against.  Do you ever feel like you’re going uphill with your business?  That many days are a struggle and things just feel like they are way harder than they should be? You’re not operating in your sweet spot – here are a few things to consider if that’s the case:

– Are you working ONLY with your best clients? (Or do you have clients who suck the life out of you, don’t pay you, nitpick, cause extra work?)

– Are you really different than others in your space? Is it clear to potential clients what that difference is?  Are you operating on your strengths – the things you love and are great at?

– Does every decision and key activity run through you personally? Are you working long hours and don’t see any way out of it?

There’s not a single ‘best’ answer for any of these ideas, but this model generally points you in the right direction. Are you operating in the sweet spot for your business? Does this model resonate with you? Why? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach