The six business hats of the self-employed
Being a solo business owner means being all things to all people and moving from one aspect of the business to another at light speed.
One moment you are checking an invoice, next you take a call and switch straight into marketing and sales.
There may be times when you just can’t drag yourself ten steps to the home office down the hall and the CEO in you gets busy and gives you a good razzing.
This might sound like some sort of split personality disorder (and some days it might feel like it), but noticing which role you are taking on at any given time can be really helpful to assessing how you work most effectively.
So here are my six business hats, with apologies to de Bono:
1. The Creative
I don’t need to say much about this hat because this is the one you know most about – your product, your idea, your service.
While you may have to make sure you allocate time to this to keep being the best you can be, the actual technicalities of it are well within your grasp or your wouldn’t be in business for yourself.
Nowadays known more as chief energy officer rather than chief executive officer, with this hat on you’re thinking strategically.
You have your eye on long-term goals; big picture thinking and five-year business plans. With this hat on, you can say yes or no to prospective projects because you know whether they fit or they don’t.
3. Marketing guru
Marketing and sales means making your offer clear and making sure your identified market know you’re out there.
You are a wordsmith, a painter of pictures, a pitcher of ideas and solutions.
Websites, graphic, design, social networking – with this hat on you do or delegate – either way you need to know what to ask for.
4. Event manager
Whether it’s a product expo, a conference or making a presentation, there will be times you need to be a meticulous planner of an event.
Attention to detail, organisation and coordinating others are key here.
This is kind of like an accountant’s hat – maybe a checked cap? The financial planning of the business is crucial and this is the realm of the budget, the spreadsheet, the cashflow, and the profit and loss statement.
If you are just starting out you need to wear this hat regularly and often.
I hate this hat! Okay, so it’s not the most exciting one to many of us, but let it get dusty in the cupboard and productivity will plummet.
Invoicing, database, filing stuff (and that includes emails) keeping track of all manner of large and small bits of info have to happen when you wear this hat.
Using the hats
Use this idea a bit like the thinking hats; where you can argue a proposition out for yourself by putting on different hats one after another and defending or opposing the idea from the perspective of your business roles.
(Hint: Best to choose a private space for these conversations, they may unnerve others.)
The hats method can also help you identify areas you are not so strong in and may need to ask for support or advice.
That’s because even you, as a one-person wonder biz-whiz can’t do it all.