Assets and Capabilities

Assets and

by Max Murdock


Many founders and business owners
struggle to find time to take stock and
list those assets and capabilities
which they have actually built...

Many founders struggle to find time to list the assets and capabilities they have built. Others can get too involved in fighting fires or treading water to properly describe the developed core capabilities. Building a detailed map can lay the groundwork work for future growth and help to avoid snags and hindrances by identifying non-obvious gaps.


Building an Assets and Capabilities Map

The process should begin by identifying all current assets in the business and the core capabilities which were used to develop them. For example, an asset being a tech platform and the core capability being the ability to develop and maintain code. The assets can be quantitative such as 8 million unique website views or qualitative like brand recognition.


A 'capability' is something the business has
developed which can generate future assets

Capability examples might include a sales methodology, product design or inventory management system. Once the basic web of assets and capabilities has been developed the most important links and nodes can be identified. These are the 'core' foundations of the business and will assist in positioning to carve a well-defined niche.

These core assets/capabilities are the reason customers come to you over competitors and why they will stick with you over time. Future strategy should be built around these areas.


Your core assets and capabilities are the reason
customers come to you over and above your competitors

The next rung down shows the business's differentiators which some competitors will have but not all. In combining differentiators, a unique position can be considered and lead to longer- term advantages. A differentiator on its own will not lead to a long-term advantage and therefore should not majorly influence future strategy.

Now that the current map has been identified it can be used to consider where the next core asset will fit in and what capabilities need to be developed. If several options are available, it can become clear which option plays off existing assets best and guide the decision-making process in a structured way.

Competitor maps can also be considered to provide insight into their future strategy. Another use can be to streamline your business by identifying which specific assets/capabilities are:

  • not scalable?
  • difficult to build and do not fit well with the rest of the business?
  • are slipping into differentiators?

A good understanding of assets and capabilities and how they interconnect will lead a founder to develop their business and strategise effectively.