“The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” by Dr. Seuss was one of my favorite books as a youngster. It’s the story of a boy that tries to take off his hat when the king comes by, but another one just pops up in its place. He gets into trouble, as he keeps taking the hats off, and new ones appear on his head. Each one was grander than the one before, until the final one, which was the most glorious hat of all. Bartholomew is a bit like every entrepreneur I know.
As you start a business, you’ll be wearing 25 hats (a bit fewer than Bartholomew). Your first job is to get rid of as many hats as you can. Sometimes, taking off a hat means eliminating a useless activity. Sometimes it means that someone else is doing that job. Maybe they’re more skilled than you are and you’ll get additional benefit from hiring them. But at the very least, that task will be off your plate.
The obvious benefit is that you can concentrate on the critical tasks. What are these many hats that you – the Entrepreneur – have to wear? They include:
Human Resources, Finance, Accounting, IT, Engineering, Customer Service, Legal, Quality Control, Marketing, Manufacturing, Product Design, Strategic Planning, Operations, Reception, Secretarial and Office Maintenance, among others. Jobs that need to be done, but there’s nobody to do them but you. Plus, anything that you have someone else do, you have to pay for, whereas your time is free – or is it?
Like most entrepreneurs, I struggle to attain that work/life balance. With only so many hours in the day, I need to make sure that I get done as much as I can in the time allotted. In the balance are the hours left for sleeping and being with family. OK, I can always sleep less – well not really.
So, how do you take off those hats, trying to get to the most glorious hat of all, and make sure that the jobs are effectively handled?
The key is that when you, like Bartholomew, can take off those hats, get those tasks delegated, bring on new resources, you will be left with the most glorious hat, that task that you really enjoy more than anything else. That’s what you started your company for. You didn’t create it to handle payroll, do your invoicing, or write manuals. You did it to sell, to deliver a service, to create new products. So, off-load those hats, those tasks, and proudly wear the most glorious hat that you wanted to wear all along.
Sometimes my work gets deep into Policies and Procedures and how they affect and protect businesses. And when I start
I’ve seen it happen often. An employee walks off the job, and there is a sudden scramble in the office.
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