Do you know your industry better than anyone who works for you? Do you have an area within your industry that you know better than anyone else? Seek to be an expert in something within your business. Take ownership of tasks that no one else can do like estimates, negotiation, or advertising. Customers and employees can tell when you have no idea what is going on. If you are unsure about numbers or timelines when giving an estimate for a service, people will start to doubt you and your business. The good news is they can also tell when you have a keen understanding of an area as well.
You do not need to know everything within your business better than everyone, but there needs to be an area of knowledge that you are the authority on. This comes from experience and ambition. The Harvard Business Review article lays this out in “Make Yourself an Expert,” “Deep smarts are not merely facts and data that anyone can access. They consist of know-how: skilled ways of thinking, making decisions, and behaving that lead to success again and again. Because they are typically experience-based, deep smarts take time to develop.”
The good news is that there are ways to boost your expertise over short periods of time. I recently read that if you read 2 books on a specific subject you would know more than 95% of everyone else. Continue to learn, whether it is reading, going to trade association conferences or training seminars. This goes for your employees, as well as business owners like you. Take whatever classes are needed to have all the respected licenses and certification within your industry. Even if you have a business partner or top employee with these credentials, you need them too. Work relationships don’t last forever, and you have to be prepared to fill any gap with your know-how and credentials.