It’s an oft-repeated axiom for small business owners: you have to wear a lot of hats. Many commentators on the business world would state that it’s even a requirement or a fact of life, something that entrepreneurs need to love and master in order to survive. But does a specialization in the arts of millinery really help you run your business with optimal efficiency?
In addition to being salesperson, manager, marketer, technician, R&D specialist and more for your business, you are also responsible for your personal life: your commitments to family, health, social relationships, and so forth. Work-life balance often becomes a difficult balance for small business owners. According to a 2012 study on workload and work-life balance issues, only 23 per cent of working Canadians are highly satisfied with their day-to-day routines.
In light of this, it may be time to look at the volume of hats you are wearing and think about how to build one that fits better, rather than adding another to the stack.
When resources are tight, small business owners usually try to fill the gaps themselves. Each business has its own economic reality that’s got to be factored into any hiring decision; however, by and large, many business owners end up wearing multiple hats because they wait too long to hire additional staff. Making the right budgetary allowances for proper staffing continues to be one of the most important funding needs for small businesses seeking access to capital in Canada.
One of the best indicators that you’ve made the right staffing decision is the degree to which you are able to trust these new employees when it comes time to delegate responsibilities and remove some of those precarious hats from your own head. Successful business leaders will look to empower people around them to do their jobs. Make sure you’re giving your contractors and employees the freedom to make decisions (even make mistakes and correct the mistakes themselves). In the long run, you’ll have a wiser, more confident, more effective and more capable workforce. And you’ll be able to focus on the strategic aspects of your business.