Are You a Small Business Owner Speeding Towards Burnout?
Is your business out of control? If you are a small business owner who feels like your business is running you, instead of you running your business, learn how to STOP the cycle. It’s all about your hat!
As a small business owner, we have to balance and wear many “hats” to succeed. In fact, there are up to 9 “hats” a small business owner has to wear for any business to run successfully!
With such a tremendous learning curve for small business owners, it is easy to understand why “About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more.”
How can a small business owner hedge his bets on keeping the doors open?
This is where the Hat Concept comes into play. You need to make it an absolute priority to schedule time each quarter, each month and each week to “wear the hat” necessary to keep things running smoothly in the business.
Here are the “hats” business owners need to schedule time for:
CEO HAT – The CEO is the visionary of the company. As such, he has to keep the long term vision of the company alive and in focus. This will ensure that the company does not expand too fast or “chases too many squirrels” (deviating from the planned path). It is also his job to, at a high level, review financials, fund and defund the business as necessary, and keep focus on the long run.
CFO HAT – The CFO is the penny cruncher of the company. He keeps a tight reign on the bottom line financials in the month to month operations. He is not necessarily popular with anyone in the company because “conservative” is his middle name. He serves a very necessary function however, to ensure the company does not overextend itself financially and stays in business.
CMO HAT – The Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for all company branding, press releases, managing company perceptions, getting out the ‘word’ on what is new. This is crucial to start laying a foundation for community involvement, contribution, and good will.
VP of Sales HAT – He is the lifeblood of the business. Sales in any business drive revenue. Master the art of upsell, downsell, cross sell, drive for results and live with no fear.
CIO HAT – The Chief Information Officer works all of the latest technology and office technical/communications processes and systems.
COO HAT – The Chief Operations Officer is all about the product delivery. In my case, I am the COO every time I pick up and phone with a client.
Additional HATS – Human Resources, Legal and Customer Service Officers come into play once the business is large enough.
In real life, how does making time to wear each of these hats relate to the solopreneur, entrepreneur and small business owner’s success or failure?
Let’s look at a Forbes article by Eric Wagner titled “Five Reasons 8 out of 10 Businesses Fail”
“Not really in touch with customers through deep dialogue.”
HAT to wear – Chief Operations Officer: needs to be able to effectively understand client needs, see gaps in the market, listens to what the clients want and need instead of what the business owner thinks they need.
“No real differentiation in the market (lack of unique value proposition).”
HAT to wear – Chief Marketing Officer: needs to time to look at competitors, positioning in the market place, develop compelling strategies for product promotion and client engagement.
“Failure to communicate value propositions in clear, concise and compelling fashion”
HAT to wear — VP of SALES: for small business owners, he needs to consistently focus on listening and selling based on client needs and not ‘benefit’ selling. Focus on building a sales funnel that solves a problem and communicate clear value propositions to meet prospects’ needs.
“Leadership Breakdown at the top (yes – founder dysfunction)”
HAT to wear – The CEO is responsible for bringing the whole group together. Most small business owners are just scrambling to cover expenses, fill payroll and keep the doors open. Who has time to break away every week, month, and quarter for strategic positioning, thinking and planned promotions of the business? But the reality is that planning time is CRITICAL, even if it’s just one quarter at a time.
“Inability to nail a profitable business model with proven revenue streams.”
HAT to wear – CFO: As a small business owner, taking time out to manage expenses, focus on revenue, and analyze numbers is not fun! And, it can be easily avoided by just focusing on payroll each week. Unfortunately, not keeping track of your revenue and expenses at least every 2 weeks can lead to disaster.
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Be courageous and fire yourself, if needs be! Then, hire a new ‘you’ and wear the HAT you need to drive your business to continued success. I want to see you celebrating long after that 5-year anniversary!