05 May 2011

Growth Coach Challenge – Entrepreneur, Stop Collecting More Hats

Quick, how many hats are you currently wearing or juggling at your company?  You know what I mean … how many different roles/jobs are you responsible for in a given week?  Like most entrepreneurs, your answer is probably that you jump in and out of 5 or more roles in a given week … from owner/CEO, to bookkeeper, sales manager, sales person, collections specialist, shipping clerk, marketing specialist, client service provider, customer service rep, IT troubleshooter, operations worker, HR manager, payroll processor, check writer, fire drill coordinator and on and on.  What an exhausting and stressful way to run a business and lead a life.  And such chaos, confusion and complexity will greatly restrict your financial success.

How do entrepreneurs get trapped in their business wearing so many different hats?  It’s because they never give up … anything … including hats.  That is one of the chief qualities that sets entrepreneurs apart from all others and contributes to their success. They are fighters, not quitters.  They don’t give up, give in, quit, surrender, or yield.  However, it’s that same stubbornness, persistence and perseverance that can get them into trouble wearing way too many hats and feeling overworked, overwhelmed and like prisoners to their business.

Most entrepreneurs simply don’t know when to give up and let go … especially of certain tasks, roles and hats. They keep adding hats on their heads and mounting responsibilities on their shoulders.  How does that happen?  It’s simple.  When starting a business, most business owners out of necessity must wear many hats and perform most, if not all, the technical roles and tactical tasks.  Given limited capital and armed with a can-do attitude, they willingly perform multiple roles and tasks without giving it a second thought.  And that’s perfectly OK and normal the first year or so.  However, over time, most business owners get trapped into putting on more and more hats … and they seldom give any of them up.  Sadly, and out of habit, they have a hard time letting go of the many tasks and roles they began accumulating from Day One of the business … especially the technical and lower-value tasks.

This Growth Coach wants you to learn a different mindset and a better approach to running your business.  It’s a strategic approach to elevating your leadership and learning to give up and let go of the lower-value tasks and technical roles.  If you can transform, your business will be on track to provide you with more fun, fulfillment, freedom and financial success.

As your virtual business coach, let me ask you a few coaching questions:

  • Again, and truthfully, how many hats are you wearing in a given week in your business?
  • Do you tend to repeatedly exchange one hat for another throughout a typical day?
  • At times during the day, do you even forget what hat you are supposed to be wearing?
  • Has your number of hats diminished, stayed the same, or grown over the last 3 years?

If you are constantly exchanging hats and not discarding or delegating hats, you need a new strategic mindset and way to manage your business and life.

An owner’s mindset from the inception of their business (or whenever they get this wake-up call) should be that the only hat he/she will eventually wear is that of Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  So stop trying to be a super hero and stop trying to be the Chief EVERYTHING Officer.  Focus on being a real CEO … your visionary leadership, setting the direction and goals of the business, and holding others accountable for results are the critical areas you should focus on … all others tasks/hats can be given up, delegated, and let go of in time.  When owners are committed to shedding hat after hat until they have only one hat left, that of CEO, their business will be easier to manage and worth a fortune when they sell it.  They will have created a systems-dependent and not an owner-dependent business.  People will pay dearly for such a smooth running business on auto-pilot.

As owner and CEO myself of a North American business coaching franchise system, I fully realize that in order to run a successful business there are dozens and dozens of skillsets that are necessary.  However, I also realize that I can’t possibly possess and don’t need to possess all those skillsets … I can hire others or utilize outsource talent.  Many owners mistakenly believe they need to be competent in all facets of a business: bookkeeping, accounting, collections, marketing, sales, PR, operations, customer service, IT, human resources, administration, management, legal, etc.  What a tragic and costly mistake.  Any wonder why most owners are exhausted or overwhelmed.  Any wonder why most owners do the wrong type of work on a daily basis.  They don’t know how to strategically give up and let go.

Over time, to become a more strategic business owner, you need to give up and let go of your technical roles and tactical tasks (bookkeeping, administration, IT, operations, etc.) in order to advance yourself and the company.  As the business evolves and grows, so must you!  You need to give up the small stuff to focus on the big stuff.  You need to give up the “trivial many” hats so you are left wearing the” vital few” hats of strategic leadership and marketing.  Sadly, many owners never make this critical transformation from technical doer to strategic leader.  Their heads are buried under hats and their lives are forever buried in the business.

Here comes some tough-love business coachingIf you have no employees, why not finally hire some or at least outsource some of these technical or lower-value tasks to third-party vendors?  If you have employees already, aren’t there others in the company right now who could do these technical/tactical tasks better than you, who would enjoy them more than you, and who can do them at cheaper hourly rates than you?  Most likely yes!  Then give those tasks up.  Give up those hats.  Let go … dare to change your ways.  Challenge your habits and assumptions.

If you don’t mind wearing lots of hats, doing lots of tasks, and working predominantly “in” your business and very little “on” your business, that’s your call.  It’s your life and business.  Just accept the unintended and painful consequences … being overworked, overwhelmed, and feeling like a prisoner to your business.

One thought on “Growth Coach Challenge – Entrepreneur, Stop Collecting More Hats”

  1. You’re right outsourcing is one of the most essential skills to making a company progress long-term. For the management skills and charisma needed I read and re-read this http://bit.ly/nwrGAv Eric Bailey is very inspiring.

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