Broadening your horizons

Broadening your horizons

Broadening your horizons – the benefits of being a good generalist

One of the biggest challenges of becoming a successful business owner is becoming a good generalist, but for the vast majority of people, this requires a real change in thinking.

In this post, we look at the differences between specialists and generalists, and how becoming more of a generalist will help you to achieve to your full business potential.

Specialists vs generalists

In business, there are two kinds of people  – specialists, who are extremely knowledgeable and experienced, but in a tightly focused area, and generalists, who have limited knowledge and experience about a wide range of different areas.

Whilst specialists make good employees, to be a successful business owner, you need to be a great generalist, with a strong understanding about a full range of different business principles.

The inevitable road to specialism

The education system is geared towards making people more and more specialised, with a view to making them better employees.

As pupils in school, we start out learning a wide range of different subjects, but as we get older, this range of subjects diminishes and diminishes, until we end up focusing on just a handful.

If we end up going to college or university, this gets distilled down even further, and by the time we enter the world of work, we’re already firmly down the road to becoming specialists.

Once you enter the world of work, you inevitably become more specialist, as you need to become more experienced and more proficient in your role to climb the ladder within any organisation.

The limitations of being a specialist

Being a specialist is great when you’re an employee, but unfortunately, it will hold you back as a business owner.

If your experience is entirely focused on one area, then your business is likely to suffer, as you won’t have the range of knowledge and understanding required to effectively make the right decisions across your organisation as a whole.

This might mean you don’t have the knowledge required to employ the right people to help develop your business, or that you don’t understand the financial side of things enough to develop systems to improve profitability and growth.

The benefits of being a generalist

As we’ve discussed on the blog here before, the eventual goal of any successful business owner is to create an organisation that works without their direct input, and the only way of doing this is by becoming a good generalist.

To be a great generalist, you don’t need to be the best, or the most experienced in every area – you just need to have a strong working understanding of all the main principles behind running a business.

These include things like:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Legal

When you start out as a business owner, it’s highly unlikely that you have all the skills and knowledge you need to be a great business owner – it’s an on-going process that takes time and effort.

Part of becoming a successful business owner is identifying your weaknesses and areas where you have little or no experience, and actively working to gain a better understanding in that area.

In the end, the more rounded your knowledge becomes, the better business owner you’ll be.

How Coach Pam can help

If you’re struggling with any aspect of running your business, or want to improve your knowledge and understanding of any of the key principles behind successful business ownership, contact Coach Pam today on 07540 888016.