Core competencies should be the strengths of your business and the reasons why customers buy from your company. They should be what separate you from the competition, what gives customers value and a purpose to buy from you.
Ask yourself two questions.
- What are our core competencies?
- Why are they core competencies?
Core to whom?
These core competencies may be important to you and your team, but did you consider future customers you are trying to attract? When you answered the first question, who did you base your answer on? Was it an internal company perspective that determined your core competencies, or were they based on what the current and future potential target market finds important and valuable?
Is your core dying or out of shape?
Once you have objectively defined your core competencies, you need to check on their health. You may have been so busy that you’ve ignored them or taken them for granted over the years.
Have you really looked to see if your core is still healthy? Think of your core as your body: when was the last time you had someone look inside to see if your core was still functioning well? Some people ignore their body for years until something hurts, and only then take action. You may be able to fix the core—or it may be too late.
Business core competencies are the same. Don’t wait until you see symptoms or problems that are destroying the core. It may be too late to fix the underlying cause and, meanwhile, your customers have moved on.
Conduct a core competencies checkup
Run your core competencies through objective, repeatable tests to see if they’re still valid and working well for your customers. This may involve third-party surveys, scheduled random testing and evaluation, or outside research.
Analyze the results and make the necessary changes and adjustments needed for the target market and competitive marketplace. You may need to redefine your core competencies and discontinue doing things that might have been important in the past.
You may need to blow up your core
What’s core today may disappear tomorrow. You need to look at sustainable, scalable core competencies to be able to survive and attract your customers into the future. Don’t be afraid to make radical changes to your core in order to be in shape for the future.
Keep your core fit and trim
To have a ripped midsection takes consistent work and focus. If you don’t work on your “six-pack abs,” they disappear. Once gone, they no longer serve the core functions you need them for, and it takes more time and effort to get them back in shape. Your business is exactly the same. Don’t assume your core is healthy because it used to be. Work at it, keep it in shape—and your customers will notice.
Rick Kroetsch is the vice-president and associate publisher of Alive Publishing Group.