I’ve always been fascinated with the interaction between different business functions. In its very basic configuration a business has four core areas of focus with different businesses needing more in one area versus another. Money comes into the business from an outside source in return for something of value. I am going to refer to these two functions as Customer and Product. Behind the scenes there is an Administration function that supports to the Customer and Product Functions as well as themselves. Additionally the whole needs someone to shepherd the group to lead it and keep it on track, the Leadership function. Businesses can go deeper on these basics and have subset functions, but they can’t have less and survive.
Since there are only so many hours in a day and the timing of activity is often dictated by external forces (customers and business partners to name two) it can get very difficult to manage all of the needs. A recent study found that nearly 50% of all small business owners wore 3-4 hats. That’s right three to four different roles that could potentially be called on in any given day. No wonder almost 75% of they business owners surveyed admitted to working longer hours and more weekends. As a matter of fact, more business owners said that wearing too many hats was of greater concern than being profitable was. Here is a great infographic from Maven Link that shows some of the other findings.
OK so it’s tough work building a business but it’s also extremely gratifying, at least it is when you’re not awake at 3:30 in the morning asking yourself if you are crazy for trying to do it. Where else could you get to be so involved from the very front line with the customers to the very back end of designing a logo? The real hard part is knowing where you can make the biggest impact and where your time is less valuable because it’s a fact that most of us just can’t do it all well and we are even worse at acknowledging the difference. Although the saying “Jack of all master of none” is widely known, is this something that you want your business to be known for? Can your business afford to fail in any one area? Can you afford it?
Take a minute to look at the hats that you wear. I bet there are one to two that you shouldn’t be wearing because either you are wearing them at the cost of not wearing another hat more (see this on Opportunity Cost), or you because you aren’t the best person for the role, but you aren’t able to trust someone else to give it the same attention that you would. You need to, trust me.
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