What Hat Are You Wearing Today?
Being a small business owner means that you have to wear many different hats. You are not only the owner, but the marketing manager, IT specialist, book keeper and workplace trainer etc.
The success of your business depends on your ability to wear all the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels of your business turning. At times, the dizzying pace needed can turn even the most capable person into an overwhelmed manager wearing too many hats. As such you need a plan and you need to work that plan. Some simple pointers are:
1. Identify your separate roles
The first step is simply putting down all the varied aspects of your business that you are currently in control of. This includes both income-generating tasks (sales, marketing and customer service) as well as operational ones (managing the team, stock control, finances etc).
Are you successful in all these roles – do you know what is needed to be successful?
Effective goal setting is key to success in any business, and you should set individual goals for each aspect of your business and measure your results.
2. Make time to work on your business (not just in your business)
It’s all too easy to get lost in the daily grind of your business (working “in” your business) or only doing the things you enjoy and put off strategic, long-term planning (working “on” your business). If you find yourself in this situation, you need to make time in your calendar each week to consider your business, think about potential opportunities and do some long-term positioning. Stay disciplined: You’d never put off a meeting with an important client, so don’t slide on this critical strategizing time, either.
3. Bring on help
Many business owners end up wearing multiple hats because they wait too long to hire additional staff or outsource some of the roles such as IT and book keeping. Wages are usually one of the higher costs in the budget, but skimping on staff can have a detrimental effect on your business’ ability to grow, support customers and take advantage of new opportunities.
Before looking to bring on help, you should sit down and objectively assess your own strengths and weakness in each of the roles that you do. What areas of your business do you love? Where do you need more discipline and development? When hiring as a small business owner, it’s always best to try to capitalise on your own strengths and fill in gaps for your weaknesses, rather than just hire for what you’d consider “lower wage” work.
4. Empower those around you to do more
It can be difficult to relinquish control of day-to-day details to others. But it’s critical to let go. Successful business leaders don’t micromanage what everyone else is doing. Rather, they empower people around them to do their jobs.
Make sure you’re giving your workers the freedom to make decisions (even make mistakes and correct the mistakes themselves). In the long run, you’ll have a wiser, more confident, more effective and more capable workforce. And you’ll be able to focus on the strategic aspects of your business.
5. Always stay close to the customer!
No matter how big your business gets and how much staff you bring on, talk to your customers one-on-one. This is the best way to truly understand customer needs and how your company is doing. And helping customers is probably why you started your business in the first place, right?
Most importantly, embrace all the many hats you wear in your business. Because one thing is for sure; you’ll never get bored!