4 areas where small business owners need expertise

blog Feb 07, 2023

Medical specialists save lives everyday.

They are appropriately trained with extensive knowledge and experience in their area of expertise.

They are the right people with the right expertise.

Experts and expertise matter!

Yet for many small business owners, expertise is often deprioritized in favour of an “I can do it myself” approach. 

On the one hand, this mindset can be admired as well as the entrepreneurial spirit. 

On the other hand, growing a profitable small business isn’t ever time for amateur hour! 

Further, why expend the time, energy and dollars to figure things out when you can access expertise to show you the way?

This leads to an important and often overlooked question for small business owners: What expertise is required on or around your team to achieve your goals over the next three-to-five years?

To help you answer this question, following are four critical areas for you to consider:

1. Management Expertise

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair

Small business owners tend to take a DIY approach to management, even as their business scales. 

After all, in most cases, they bootstrapped their way to viability, so they figure this will continue to work for them. 

But as you scale a business, you reach a point of diminishing returns, where the size and complexity of the business catches up with you very quickly.

I have found that this typically happens after two years operating your business.

For example, as a business’ employee headcount grows, it’s common to promote a top performer to a supervisory or management role. 

But just because someone is a superstar individual contributor doesn’t mean they’re cut out for managing people. 

Especially when they are not provided with any training

I’ve seen this happen many times, and quite often, it doesn’t end well despite everyone’s good intentions.

They are effectively set up for failure!

Our ‘Business Transformation Program’ is a great way to help your managers and leaders.

Small business owners often baulk at paying more for expertise because up to this point, their bootstrap mentality has forced them to figure things out on their own through trial-and-error. 

The tricky part lies in the cost / benefit analysis of hiring highly qualified people with the expertise you need. 

Yes, buying expertise will cost you, but consider the potential return and the opportunity costs of figuring things out on your own (or not!). 

As you scale, this opportunity cost becomes more and more expensive. 

By bringing someone in who already knows how to manage a team of your size and scale it to the next level, you’re paying for that expertise, and you’ll end up saving time and money.

Are you willing to take this risk?

2. Financial Expertise

“If you talk to a top accountant about his field of expertise, it’s mind boggling.”

Vincent Kompany

The majority of small business owners don’t have a financial background. 

And yet, they need to drive financial results.

Consider the inception of the financial function in a small business - when the owner decides to take the accounting function off their plate, they typically hire or outsource a bookkeeper. 

It’s not uncommon over time for the same person to wind up in a financial management role or even a default, if highly underqualified, the CFO role.

It might seem like a good story that your original bookkeeper has gotten you to where you are, but they’re rarely equipped to advise and lead the increasingly complicated financial function in a scaling business.

There are serious short and long term implications to your financial decision making whether you realise it or not, which can put even your future personal financial security at risk.

More timely and more accurate information that supports better decision-making and data-driven outcomes is another benefit of expert financial leadership. 

Small business owners tend to fly by the seat of their pants when making decisions, but as their business grows, so do the risks. 

An expert CFO uses data to ask the right questions that frame more productive conversations and decisions.

Over the years, I’ve had several coaching clients who spent lots of money to acquire the right financial expert to help grow their business. 

Within about six months, the owner has said to me: “I should have made this investment much sooner.”

You should too!

3. Operational Expertise

“Chess masters don’t evaluate all the possible moves. They know how to discard 98 percent of the ones they could make and then focus on the best choice of the remaining lot. That’s the way expertise works in other fields, too. Wise practitioners recognize familiar patterns and put their creativity, improvisation, and skill toward the marginal cases.” 

John Dickerson

Operations is the business of your business - regardless of your business, it's how you make money!

And as businesses grow, it’s an area where small business owners rarely have the right expertise.

An operations expert is able to cut through the crap. 

Instead of chasing down every aspect of the business and trying to improve it, the expert can separate the operational red herrings from the right levers to pull.

For example, I have had many clients step out of operations and hire an Operations Manager or even a General Manager to run their business. 

They made the decision because they disliked running operations, and because they knew they didn’t have the expertise to grow their business operationally to facilitate improved profitability, and eventually, a highly profitable exit.

My clients still chart their course, but they brought in an expert to make the right operational moves. 

And the good news…it’s working.

Their growth has accelerated and, more importantly, they’ve consistently hit their profitability targets, which they weren’t able to do before.

How could high-level operations expertise transform your business results?

4. Learning and Development Expertise

“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.”

Denis Waitley

I love this quote and with all the businesses I have worked with, and all the people I know that have invested in themselves and their business, they have all been and / or are successful.

They have the right mindset!

What are you doing to integrate learning into the operation of your business?

I’ve never seen a business whose growth exceeds the personal growth rate of its people. 

But for many businesses, accountability for continuous learning and development is disbursed and embedded within the roles of the management team who, by the way, usually have very little knowledge or experience about professional development. 


To facilitate growth, you must invest in it. 

Are you? 

Or, are you talking about how important learning is and then leaving it to your underqualified team to figure out how to execute?

Setting them up to fail.

I have a coaching client who trains their team extensively. 

To their credit, they hired a head of learning and development, but that person wasn’t the right fit. 

Once they hired the right person to lead learning and development, everything changed. 

Line managers were able to stop stressing out about education and learning, and the employees became better trained and more effective in their roles.

The costs of not having an expert who can run a successful development program can be devastating, including the loss of top performers and the stagnation of your team.

Whether in-house or outsourced, how can you acquire the expertise to accelerate your team’s learning and development?


The price you pay for not hiring or outsourcing the right expertise for your business is invisible.

It only becomes clear in hindsight - like getting a new pair of glasses and only then realising how poor your vision was before. 

But be careful to not allow someone’s expertise to overshadow their cultural fit with your business. 

Yes, experts matter, but if they don’t fit your culture, they will end up doing more harm than good. 

I’ve seen this play out many times and it never ends well. 

If anything, you must apply MORE emphasis on fit than normal when screening for an expert.

There is no substitute for expertise to accelerate the profitable growth of your business. 

You can only bootstrap for so long before the diminishing returns become a mind sapping drag on performance and results.

Each client I’ve coached who decided to invest in the right expertise for their business ultimately had the same reaction after the fact. 

They said they wished they made the decision and investment much sooner.

Now it’s your turn.

Which of the four areas of expertise of Management, Financial, Operations and Learning and Development are required to achieve your goals over the next three-to-five years?

Our ‘Business Transformation Program’ can assist with delivering much of the above expertise, so have a look at joining the waitlist - we only open this Program up four times per year.