Geoffrey Moore, in his book Living on the Fault Line, discussed the “Core versus Context Model” for businesses. Core activities are things which set you apart from your competition and context is everything else. For many businesses, this may include administrative activities, marketing activities, and the like.
As we discussed his model, we realized that this works in our personal lives as well. You want to do more of the things you’re really good at and less of everything else. Usually, we really like to do what we’re good at so by focusing on just those tasks, we can advance in our careers.
Like for us, our strength is working on content for Bigg Success. At least we’d like to think so … or more importantly, we hope you think so!
For us, the contextual activities would be everything else. So for a couple of examples, we outsource our house cleaning and the yard work. Instead of spending time on these things, we can work on our business.
You’re getting a glimpse into how integrated our personal and professional lives are. Since we often work from home, all of these decisions are floating around together. We don’t think we’re alone on this – a lot of people are finding it pays to integrate their work life and their professional life.
By outsourcing your contextual activities, you save time and you open up the opportunity to make more money. It comes back to the time vs. money conundrum …
If you don’t have money, you have to invest more time.
For example, if you start a business that is well-capitalized, you will be able to spend your time differently than if you start on a shoestring. With limited capital, you may have to take care of the janitorial work – a lot of business owners have done that. I’ve done that!
At first, you may have to do it yourself because there’s no money. But you want to contract it out as soon as you can because it’s definitely a contextual activity, unless you happen to be the owner of a janitorial service.
Thinking about core vs. context helps you focus on where you want to spend your time and where you want to spend your money. You think twice about spending money because there’s something else that will let you spend more time on your core.
You may find that you spend your money on things that save you time, rather than cost you time.
I want a bigg screen TV, but we would rather spend that money on a web person. Right now, I handle our web site. So when there are changes that need to be made, I get to work. But there are better uses of my time.
Because we know that’s not in our core. Bigg Success is still in its early stages, so as soon as we can we’ll outsource this activity. Another example is publicity – right now, we do it ourselves. We want to contract with someone who is better at it than we are and can accomplish more than we can on our own.
So although we don’t have HDTV, we do have goals for that money!
It boils down to thinking about how much your time is worth. You may find that by contracting out certain activities, it costs you less than what you can make by spending your time working in your core.
(Image by penywise)