Some of the advice people impart as experienced business owners is just brilliant but you don’t realise it at the stage your company is in at the time. For instance one of the best things someone told me early on was to really understand what the one thing I do that is of most value to the business and just do that delegating everything else. At the point this amazing advice was shared we were just Shane and I so nobody to delegate anything to – so we carried on doing everything. The notion still rings in my ears so now that we are growing I am working really hard to nail what that one thing is and understand I can only do this now because I have worn all the hats to this point.
Wondering what I mean by wearing all the hats? quite simple really, do every job. When you are starting your enterprise you just have to, there is no one else. As you grow it becomes even more important that you keep wearing all the hats so that your precious employees or contractors are as productive as they can be writing code or consulting. I know this flies in the face of many books you will have been reading which tell you to not to devalue your own time by writing quotes or ordering stationary but the reality is for your business to scale and grow you need to bring in others and they are a direct cost, so the most pragmatic option until you can afford to buy in overhead resources – you do it all, wear all the hats and make the time.
There is another very important reason why you need to wear all the hats – to completely understand all of the roles before you employ people to fill them. Without that understanding it’s hard to know how to scale and fill the roles, whether they are best outsourced or in-sourced, whether they can be automated and for a time you will be the backup and QA function for those roles as you grow.
Something you will quickly come to realise, actually the number one thing you can’t afford to have running a business is an ego – whether your business is a startup, growing or survivalist company your ego would just get in the way, so if you are thinking of starting your own enterprise have a good hard think on that one. In ensuring your team are as productive as possible you will find yourself doing dishes, project planning, cleaning, editing documents, reporting, publishing blogs, invoicing, quoting, ordering copy paper, writing website content, scheduling etc etc etc at all hours of the day and night.
Wearing all the hats is a reality if you are bootstrapping, if you are taking the capital investment path it may well be worth your while to understand the roles this way too, food for thought? The key is moving towards the day when you can focus on what your real value adding role might be enabling you to focus on this delegating the rest.
I hope you can relate to some of these cartoons as well (the egg balancing one made me laugh and laugh, I found it just after taking a load to the rubbish room at work so perhaps it was hysterical laughter).
Happy sharing, Vic.
New to my blog? you can read about Victoria here.