Operating Your Startup Business

Wearing Too Many Hats

Wearing multiple hats in business is a common phenomenon. Let's say that a CEO at a company is working on product development, sales and raising capital. Is he doing the right thing or is he stretching himself too thin?

Owning a small business can be challenging, especially when the business is struggling to stand on its own two feet.

When resources are in short supply, owners typically try to fill in the gaps themselves.

The result? A tired, stressed-out entrepreneur with too many hats on his head.

If that sounds familiar, here are five tips designed to give you - and your head - a little relief.


Technology is a wonderful resource for business owners who fill multiple roles in the business. Nowadays there are IT solutions for everything from inventory management to payroll accounting - roles that have traditionally required significant time commitments from owners themselves.

If technology isn't your strong suit, there are plenty of IT advisors eager to assist you throughout the installation and implementation process. Although technological solutions may require a little more time in the short run, in the long run they will result in greater efficiency and fewer demands on your time.


Sometimes owners find themselves wearing multiple hats because they have waited too long to hire additional staff.

Although labor is usually one of the more costly expense items in the budget, skimping on staff can have a detrimental effect.

In some cases, it can impede growth or even result in a net loss for the business. If you are wearing too many hats, one of your first questions should be whether it's time to bite the bullet and bring on some additional employees.


If you are experiencing a staff shortage, but can't afford to add any more employees, you may want to consider the services of an independent contractor.

Independent contractors cost more per hour than a regular employee, but you don't have to pay fringe benefits and because they are specialists, they can often complete a task in less time than a salaried employee with broader responsibilities.


Believe it or not, you may not need to hire any additional employees or independent contractors to unload some of the roles you have assumed in the business.

Sometimes businesses endure unnecessary strain simply because the right people aren't responsible for the right jobs. To find the right balance for your business, assess each employee's job description and look for responsibilities that can be restructured to achieve maximum efficiency.

If you need help, you may want to consider using the services of a consultant with experience in this area.


In addition to restructuring roles and responsibilities in the business, you might also want to assess your company's activities in the marketplace.

Are the multiple roles you are responsible for a result of real growth or has your company spread itself too thin in the marketplace?

Identify your business' core competencies to determine which activities are the heart and soul of the operation. If you discover that you've spread yourself too thin, refocus your activities on the things that have the greatest impact and are most in line with your mission.

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