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How many hats do you wear in your business?

Posted on 07/09/2016, 10:33

Running a small business can be a daunting experience. Most owners of small businesses need to wear multiple hats to keep the business operating effectively.

This sometimes means that even the most capable can be overwhelmed by wearing too many hats some of which may not fit too well.

Many SME owner managers start their business out of a love for what they do, to get away from the corporate world or because an opportunity arose. Very often they are technically very good but they often don’t have a background in business processes or knowledge of how to get the best out of their businesses. As a result they are often outside their comfort zones in some of the functional areas that are vital to the success of their businesses.

Most small business owners don’t have the luxury of passing duties off to department managers so the success of their business depends on their ability to wear the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels turning. This situation is often made worse because many owners spend far too much time working in their business and not enough time working on their business.

The good news is there are ways to overcome the problem of wearing too many hats; recognising that that you can’t do it all on your own is an essential part of the solution!

Start by identifying the functional areas of your business and highlight those that you are actively involved in and those that you are capable at and enjoy doing. Once you have done this think carefully about how you can get the right people into the right positions to cover the areas that are not your strong suit so that everyone is playing to their strengths.

This may require a plan to bring in resources to deliver some of the key areas of your business where you may be struggling and you don’t have team members able to take on the role and succeed. Many business owners end up wearing too many hats because they wait too long to hire additional staff. Staff costs are usually one of the higher costs in any business but not having enough of the right staff in the right areas can be seriously detrimental to both your health and the health of the business. It will almost certainly impact your business’ ability to grow profitably.

Before recruiting it is vital to take account of the ability of your business to support the additional costs involved. An alternative to hiring is to outsource to a third party who can work in your business on a part time basis; there are companies and independents offering specialists in a variety of services. This option can often be cost effective and has the advantage of being a variable cost that you can dial up and down, rather than carrying a fixed cost of employment.

When you have an organisation in place, with the right people in the right seats, make sure you delegate not abdicate responsibility. Remember it’s your business and you need to take overall responsibility but without wearing all the hats and doing everything yourself so you have time to set and review strategy, goals and objectives and plan ahead.

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