Is your company doing its best?

(This article originally appeared in the Caletha Crawford Childrenswear Consulting KidsBiz newsletter, access past issues here:

It’s not often that you hear a politician speak and think, “hey, this guy’s onto something,” but I had just such an experience watching Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. Now, before you click ‘delete’ on this email, rest assured. I’m not getting all political on you, so both you Red- and Blue-Staters can utter a sigh of relief.

No, my point is bigger than politics. It goes to the core of who we each are and what we do. Watching the former president was mesmerizing to me because there was a guy who was doing what he was born to do. It was as clear as day. Nobody can hold an audience in thrall while simultaneously educating, preaching, deriding and amusing (for 48 minutes, no less) like Bill. And he knows it.

That made me think about something that’s been rattling around in my head for awhile: how many of us have wandered away from what we’re really good at for one reason or another? I know, heavy right? Well, let’s not get too deep. Let’s focus on our businesses. Are you doing what you’re good at? The question surfaced again last week when sales rep Ilene Oren, the Queen of Tween, popped into my fashion business class to discuss the role of the rep in the sales and merchandising process. In addition to orders and styles, what did she stress? Finding what you’re good at and sticking to it. Hello. There it was again. According to Ilene, her business has been successful because she’s stuck with the segment of the market she loves, she gets and she has experience in. Yes, she could probably sell diaper bags or onesies, but probably not as many of them and she wouldn’t be as happy (and her vendors probably wouldn’t be that ecstatic either).

In your business, are you doing what you do best or have you strayed away from your core strengths? If you find that your collection or store looks nothing like your ideal scenario, is there a way to do what you love and be profitable at it? Chances are if you do what you’re good at, you’ll be more fulfilled, you’ll be more successful and it’ll be easier. Note: I said ‘easier,’ not easy. If you don’t think President Clinton poured hours into that speech, writing and rewriting and double-checking facts and analyzing the other side’s arguments, that’s only because he did it so well that it just looked easy. It took thought, revisions, practice and fine-tuning, but for him, I’m sure he enjoyed every second. Because he was doing what he does best. What does your company do best? Are you doing it? —Caletha Crawford