Core Competencies: Where Should You Spend Your Time?

Architect Design Project Meeting Discussion Concept

Focusing on your company’s core competencies can give you a significant competitive advantage over your competitors.

What is a core competency?

A core competency is a defining capability or advantage that distinguishes an enterprise from its competitors. Basically, a skill, process, or system that you perform better than nearly everyone else.

Whether analyzing core competencies in business or your personal life, it’s important to focus your time on the areas you can have the most impact.

Maybe you started a business and you were responsible for every role; operations development, sales, marketing, accounting, administration, scheduling, and sweeping the floor, because, well, that was the only option. Or, maybe you work for a company and your position was added in the early stages and you had to wear many hats. You had to do marketing and business development, in addition to sales because there wasn’t anyone else to generate leads for you. In early-stage growth companies, this is common. The company does what it has to do. However, as you grow, it’s important to focus your efforts. Spending one hour on a core competency will be worth more to your company’s output than more than twice that time on a non-core competency task.

If you were the original developer of your software offering, it makes the most sense for you to continue to spend the most time on development or collaborating with your developers to improve performance and capabilities of your offering. If you are best in a sales role, you should leave the operations responsibilities to someone else, spending the most time within your core competency of sales. Spend time where you are most valuable.

Analyzing your Core Competencies:

  1. What are you best at? At what skill or area of business do you excel nearly every time?
  2. What do you love doing? What do you get excited about and wish you could do more of?
  3. Do the two align?
  4. Where do you struggle? What is the task that takes you the most time due to inefficiencies or lack of skill?
  5. What do you dislike? What do you dread doing?
  6. Do the two (4 and 5) align?


There are only 24 hours in a day. The most innovative person in the world will not be able to change that one fact. How you spend your time, however, is completely up to you. Spend it wisely.