Yes, You Will Wear a Lot of Hats in your Small Business

by Norma Rist on October 3, 2010

There are so many things that need to be done to run a business and make a profit.  In the beginning there are a lot of one-time decisions, and then later there are a lot of areas to cover. 

You are responsible for all of these areas.  You can obtain advice from your CPA, your attorney, your banker, and other owners, but in the end you are making the decisions.  You will be wearing all of the hats, at one time or another each month.

Perhaps you are an expert in project management, so you may not need much help in operations, but the other areas will be more difficult.  If you were an accountant in a professional position before you started your business you will not need much help in this area.  Think about the different functional areas of your business – and what person could be an advisor in each of these areas, where you are not an expert:


Your CPA will help you to set up your bookkeeping.  Perhaps you will learn to do the input, or have a bookkeeper do that for you.  You can find a bookkeeper by 1) asking your CPA for referrals, 2) check with your Chamber of Commerce for members, 3) read your local once-a-week newspaper for ads.  Interview several and if possible ask your CPA to interview your selection to be sure your selected candidate is technically capable.


Most start up businesses cannot afford to hire outside marketing help, the help to locate and connect with your best target prospects.  So you end up figuring out how to do that yourself.  There is a super advantage to doing it yourself; when you learn to do the marketing for yourself (in the beginning) you will learn what works and what does not work; you will figure out what works and be able to repeat it time and time again; you will feel in charge of your future  and that you can create your own success.  There are lots of resources to help you along the way.  Talk with other owners is one.  Also read good books such as Riches in Niches by Susan Friedman.  Susan helps you narrow your planned target market in a way that you can become known as an expert in that area.  Read good blogs abour marketing; a great one is Chris Brown’s Branding & Marketing.


In the beginning you will be handling all of the operations.  If you are a graphic designer it will be up to you to find prospects,  prepare and deliver proposals, get  signed contracts, deliver the work, send the invoices and deposit the checks.  Usually the start up owner is very good at delivering the work.  The other functions you need to practice, do over and over again, until you are good at it.  I sometimes suggest that a new owner deliver some services to buyers outside of their little home town.  Then if everything is not as perfect as you would like, you will not run into the previous client in the grocery store.


You are responsible to talk with your attorney and use contracts and agreements that  are suggested.  If you want to prepare for the meerting with your attorney, read on line to be familiar with the content of a sales agreement, or a non-compete (for an employee or subcontractor).  Here are two sites that cover legal info in lay language: nolopress or legalzoom.  You can read up on the topic, and then be better prepared to discuss the law and your needs with your attorney (and you won’t spend as much time with her teaching you about different parts of the law).


Make a list of the other experts you may need.  Computer repair, IT installation, software training, transcriptions services, cleaning person, graphic designer, writer, etc.  Keep a list of the people you meet who might be good suppliers to call and interview when you are ready for their services.  This will help you get ready to wear all those hats!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris Brown October 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

Thanks for the shout out!! I was catching up on my blog reading this Saturday morning and there it was.

Love the photos you post on each of your articles too.

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