The Small Business Experiment Part 3- The Weakness of Strength

the small business experiment part 3

What does Newton’s Third Law of Motion have to do with entrepreneurship?

Have you ever seen one of those desk toys called Newton’s Cradle? Definitely for geeks, it holds a half-dozen or so swinging metal balls, suspended by a clear filament from a frame. If you swing the ball on one side of the lineup, the balls in the center remain surprisingly stationary. It is the ball on the other end that receives the transferred energy and swings out in response. It is a demonstration of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

The toy represents other things , such as the transfer of authority in any organization. Like the first swinging ball, a CEO will deliver instructions down the chain of command. Unfortunately, she is so far removed from the problems at the other end, that she cannot see how she ever played a part in the blowout.

One of the greatest challenges of being an entrepreneur is to see yourself honestly. Why? There is a fine line between strength and weakness. For example, there is a fine line between tenacity and stubbornness. For every strength that has helped you to become successful in the first place, there is an equal and opposite weakness that will undermine your success when the going gets tough. We may understand that we need to delegate those tasks where we are not likely to excel, and it is easy to lean upon the strengths of others in such cases. But what about when we are under pressure? Having a hammer in our hands, we see every problem as a nail. We may default to our strengths whether they apply or not. But when the problem is not the problem, we may end up with bent nails and swollen thumbs. 

Think about it. A person may have great determination to accomplish their goals. But you may be working hard at the wrong things. Devotion to excellence may make you a craftsman, but perfectionism is the enemy of completion. An entrepreneur may be chock full of ideas, but the only ideas that count are the ones that are completed and shipped. 

How do we keep the balance? Here are five strategies to keep you from becoming polarized on either side:

Have a clear vision
Your best defense against straying over the line in either direction is to have a clear vision of where you are going. Nix any action or attitude that does not advance the troops toward the goal. Vision will keep you from falling off the cart.

Find a mentor
Everyone needs someone outside the frame to provide objectivity. It is human nature to obsess over skills we do not possess, and we can quickly lose heart. But focus too heavily on your strengths, and you may rely on them too much. Losing heart makes you weary. Be oblivious to your weaknesses and you lose that valuable commodity called humility. Ask a mentor for feedback. You may be surprised that others perceive a weakness as a strength, and a strength as a weakness. Outside perspective can help you distinguish which is which.

Practice, practice, practice
Becoming an expert at anything does not start with excuses. It starts with overcoming. To become an expert in anything, you must have experience. Are you aware just how many famous people were told that they had no talent at all? Or had no college degrees? Or that they would never make it? So what! Excuses will never help you grow. Weakness can be the point of transition toward excellence, and can be transformed into a strength. Who knows? Practice, practice, practice. You may make it to Carnegie Hall after all.

Keep an open mind
The weakness of our strength is that we stop learning. Learning new things is always accompanied by humility because we have to admit that which we do not know. Once we stop asking questions, we stop growing. Learn something new every day, even if it is something very small.

Leverage your skill sets
It is an essential leadership skill to recognize the gifts and skills of others. Our weaknesses can point to the necessity of delegation, and give us an opportunity to put someone else in the limelight. Watch enthusiasm grow when everyone owns credit for projects that turn out better than the plan. By sharing the successes, weakness is transformed into a strength. 

Newton’s Third Law of Motion demonstrates many other practical maxims and aphorisms. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap. Karma. It will get you every time. Whatever your understanding of this cosmological constant, we cannot defy it. We will get back exactly what we put into our business. Use it well, and it will launch your business into the stratosphere.

What one thing can you do today that will provide the biggest bang for the buck? 

Join us next time for Part 4!


Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies?  Because no matter how beautiful your graphics, they will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your vision, the more lucid your marketing will be, and the better connection you will make with your target customer. We want to help you find the gold in your business. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.