You’ve probably heard it a billion times, haven’t you?
Entrepreneurs need to wear many different hats.
It’s a reality that we all deal with as we work to grow our businesses. We have to perform several different functions as effectively as possible. One day you might be working on your marketing plan. The next day, you might be negotiating with vendors. After that, you might find yourself being your own accountant.
It can get pretty exhausting, can’t it?
When you’re starting your first venture and you’re going for it alone, things can be tough. Unlike bigger startups with more capital, whether you’re an entrepreneur who is just starting out, or solopreneur who is going it alone, you have to do a lot of things yourself. It can certainly take its toll.
However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
The key is balance, and learning to separate every part of your job into equally important parts. You can call these different aspects of your job your “hats.” Here are a few of the roles that you are bound to play when you start your journey into the rough waters of entrepreneurship:
The 6 Hats of a Solopreneur
No matter what field you’re in, as your business grows you are bound to have to outsource some of the labor. Not only can you not do it all on your own, but it’s also extremely inefficient for you to try. You’re only one person, right?
After all, when your time is better spent looking at the big picture and trying to figure things out on a logistical level, it makes no sense for you to be scrubbing the toilets. Unless of course, you’re into that sort of thing.
In order for you to be a good leader, you’re going to have to learn how to delegate. You have to learn to let go and not to micromanage, otherwise you may as well be doing the job that you’re outsourcing yourself. At the same time, to be able to delegate well, it’s best if you have done the job yourself at some point, so that you’re better familiar with what it actually entails.
Also, you need to know how to motivate the members of your team. This requires you to have influence. If you learn how to move others to action, you will ensure that they will do their best work for you.
Regardless of who you end up hiring to sell your goods or services later on, you are your company’s original salesperson. It will be up to you to come up with your own sales process. After all, if you are unable to persuade prospects to become customers, then you really have no business.
Of course, for many entrepreneurs, the idea of selling can be scary. It’s understandable. Nobody wants to be that obnoxious, pushy salesperson, do they?
But it is possible to sell without being sleazy, I promise!
To be a good salesperson, you must be focused on solving your customers’ problems not selling your products. It’s an important distinction. Your prospects aren’t interested in buying a product or service. They are interested in addressing their needs.
Making their lives easier should be your first priority, and as the leader of your enterprise, you need to build a business around finding what your customer base needs. The key is to communicate how your products can fill your prospect’s needs.
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but as an entrepreneur, you’re going to need to learn how to manage your finances that right way. What’s the point of making all that money if you’re not sure how to take care of your financial needs?
Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where many new entrepreneurs fall short. We can’t all be CPA’s, right?
Jon Stein, CEO of Betterment says this:
“Most entrepreneurs are drawn to the funner parts of business. They find the finance side boring. But it’s the boring component that will help you stay afloat as you continue to grow your business. Either commit to managing your accounting, or hire someone to do it for you, but don’t neglect this part!”
There’s a lot that goes into maintaining your finances when you’re an entrepreneur. It’s not the easiest task for many business owners. Fortunately, there’s a lot of information that you can use to learn how to take care of the money you make.
Of course, it’s best to hire an accountant to help you figure out how to manage your cash flow. While you may have to spend a decent sum of money up front, the amount of money you will save will be more than worth it.
4. Accounts Receivable
If you’re going to start a business or launch a product, obviously you need to know something about money, or else you’re going to be unable to stay afloat. Research pricing techniques and have an idea of how much your product is worth so that you can establish a fair price for your customers, but still make a healthy profit for yourself.
In addition, you must learn how to invoice your clients. This sounds easy, but it can be a challenge if you don’t do it the right way. There are several ways you can invoice your clients. You’ll need to figure out what invoicing system works best for your business.
Of course, you will also need to manage the money going out as well as the money coming in. This means you’ll need a system for managing what you need to pay and when. This can include any independent contractors whose labor you need to pay for, vendors who manufacture or distribute your products, suppliers who you buy your office supplies from, or it simply might be monthly fees from your merchant accounts that you must keep up with. Of course, if you care about efficiency, you really should be automating this as much as possible.
Another thing to be aware of are your vendor contracts. Depending on the type of business you run, you may have certain agreements in place with the vendors you do business with.
It’s extremely important that you have a full understanding of the agreements you have with your vendors. The last thing you want to do is make your company vulnerable to a lawsuit. That’s why you have to make sure you comply with all of your vendor agreements.
No matter what kind of business you have, you can’t really get away from this one, can you? If nobody knows about your product, what’s the point of launching it? You’re going to have to do your homework and figure out the best strategy for exposing your product or service to the world.
Of course, “marketing” is a rather broad term, isn’t it?
For your purposes, marketing is any avenue that you use to make sure prospects know about your product or service. This can include direct mail, billboards, flyers, commercials, or online marketing.
Brandon Leibowitz, founder of Shralpin has found success using mainly visual marketing.
“Our website is tailored to both amateur and professional skateboarders. We do feature news stories that are related to skating, but the main feature of our website is being able to see both amateur and professional skaters in action. It provides an easy way for visitors to interact with our website.”
There are many different types of businesses that require different types of marketing. However, the type that most businesses have in common is the need for online marketing. If you’re trying to grow a business without an online presence, you might as well give up now.
Every successful business needs to establish their online footprint. This means having a well-designed website that features high-quality content. You may also need to use social media to attract visitors to your website.
Effective online marketing can turn your website into a lead-generation tool that helps you close more deals. Here are some of the main components of online marketing:
- Content marketing: Blogging, articles, videos, audio.
- Social media: Using various social media platforms to reach your audience.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Increasing your search engine rankings to make it easier for prospects to find you online.
When you have a viable marketing plan, you will attract and retain more customers.
These are some of the main hats you will wear as an entrepreneur. It might not be easy, but if you find the right balance, you’ll be able to juggle them effectively.
Of course, outsourcing is always an option if you can afford it. If there’s a function that you’re not good at, hire someone to do it for you. The time you save will be priceless. The more you delegate, the more effective you will be.
Every entrepreneur is different, so it’s important that you remember to play to your strengths. If you can’t afford to outsource right now, then work hard to get to the point where you can hire others to do the things you aren’t able to do. When you accomplish this, you will find it much easier to grow and maintain your business.
Hats Photo via Shutterstock