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How Many Hats Are You Wearing?

I like hats. Unfortunately, many people say I don’t always look good in them. Maybe it’s the shape of my face or even the size of my head. Many people realize that in business, we all wear many different hats. I wanted to take this opportunity to look a little deeper into the concept of wearing different hats as a business owner and the dangers of wearing too many.

So let’s think about hats … and small business owners …

Some hats look and fit better on you than others

As I stated above, there truly are only a couple of hats I look good in and just let me say, I’m sure the same is true for you. As a small business owner, you need to realize that some of the hats that you wear (i.e., CEO, marketing guru, sales manager, developer, etc.) will look better on you than others. With hats, we all know that it’s your face, head size, or shape that will determine just how well they fit. In business, you need to understand that it’s knowledge, experience, and time that will make for a good fit.

Sometimes the hats you wear may actually look and fit better on someone else, even though you have worn the hat for a long time. This is especially true if you feel that the hat belongs to you and you are having a hard time believing anyone could wear the business hat better than you. The truth of the matter is that you simply can’t be good at everything. So, be proud to wear the hats you look good in and that fit you extremely well. It makes good business sense to let others wear the hats that work for them. You will find that the hat you do wear looks even better than before and your business will thank you for it.

If you wear a hat that’s old and worn, people notice

Sometimes you need to see the analogy that hats are like old sneakers. They fit perfectly. They are comfortable and you don’t even notice when you are wearing them. For you, it’s great. For others, they might begin to wonder why you just don’t get rid of the old hat and upgrade to a newer, better one. You need to realize it’s the same in business.

If you continue to do the same things over and over, people will notice. If you don’t update or upgrade your systems, people will notice. If you utilize the same marketing and sales methods, people will notice. If you don’t improve your processes and procedures, update your website, and utilize social media, people will notice. If you are stagnant, people will notice. They’ll start to wonder why your company has not kept pace with the newer, faster, better ways to do things. If this begins to happen then they will wonder whether they can afford to or want to continue to do business with you.

Some hats are worn more for protection, rather than how they look

Sometimes, we need to wear a rain hat to keep our heads dry, or a woolen hat to keep our heads warm. Usually, these are not very flattering, but they work and that will overcome the vanity of how they look. In business, it is usual that we will do things the same way we’ve always done it, because it has worked in the past and we are comfortable with it. We don’t see any particular reason to step out of our comfort zone. Unfortunately, in the world of business, there are always changes. The technology window closes quickly. Customers are more demanding of instantaneous information and satisfaction. The world expects quicker, better and cheaper products and services than ever before. As a business owner, you can’t afford to not step out of your comfort zone. You need to understand that some things do still work, but there will always be ways to improve those tried and true methods as well.

Hats fall off

We all know that a strong wind can blow your hat off and if you bend over, chances are your hat will fall off as well. In the same way, if you run too fast or move around too fast, again, your hat will fall off. In business, if you are not prepared then the very same thing can and most likely will happen to you. A strong wind of change in the business environment, technology, or competition can quickly destroy a company that is not prepared for it. Running around putting out fires without good planning, execution and tracking will not only knock a business hat off, but it will also make it very difficult for you to put it back on and try and conduct business as usual. You need to understand that you can’t anticipate everything, but if you don’t try to mitigate or avoid problems, then you will be forced to react to everything and eventually, your business will fail.

If you wear more than one hat, you look silly

So let’s just get this straight - I’m not talking about wearing different hats, I’m talking about wearing multiple hats at the same time. Many times when small business owners attempt to wear multiple hats, they will look silly. A business owner who knows absolutely nothing about IT will certainly look silly if they are trying to talk to a vendor or client about servers, networking, or operating systems. It’s the same with the other hats business owners often try to wear. You need to know that if you look silly, the perception is that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. This can result in vendors either selling you stuff you don’t need or even customers having little confidence in your ability to help them. Here, it comes back to what I said before. Wear the hat you’re comfortable with. Wear the hat that fits you best and let others wear the hats that look good on them and fit them well.

If you wear more than one hat, you multiply the chances of the things mentioned above happening

By wearing a lot of hats it will make it very difficult for you to see the one that you really look good in. Also don’t forget it’s not easy to take one hat off without affecting all the other hats. Finally, if you have to wear multiple hats, you need to realize that you won’t wear any of them as well as you could. They won’t look good and also they will not protect you as well as you would like.

By wearing too many hats in business, the results will mean that few or even none of the tasks associated with each hat will be completed. It may even mean that none of the tasks are completed fully. Wearing too many hats can also lead to multitasking and no matter how good you may think you are, no one is a great multitasker.

There are ways to compensate, overcome, and alleviate the problem of wearing too many hats, but the first step has to be yours. Recognizing that you can’t do it all on your own is the first step. Getting help is the second step. Want to work on finding the hat that’s right for you? Give me a call. I’ll help you find the perfect fit! My business is to help make your business run better.


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