The Many Hats
So, you're a baker?
You want to start your own bakery because your recipes are the bomb and you know you could roll out production like woah if you had your own kitchen. Right. I'm there. But it's helpful to have a variety of skills when starting a business. Thus far, I've encountered a variety of different roles. Some of them are kind of innate because of my background and earlier plans in life, but some of them are not so natural. Everything in balance.
10 Roles of a Small Business Owner (That I've Encountered So Far):
- Photographer: I've got photography down well enough to cover my website and social media. Photography was one of my majors in college. So, while I'm not super great at the styling aspect, I can usually generate a decent shot.
- Writer: You know, for blogging and website content and key wording and all that jazz. Paying someone to write for you sounds like a great deal, but they just won't have your voice or the vocabulary on your topic to really flesh out something that your audience wants to read. You have the knowledge and the personality that will attract and retain clients that are right for you, so use them!
- Marketing and Design: Handle branding, advertising, social media, website production, t-shirts and other identity-focused merchandise.
- Manager: To-do lists are never-ending, yo. I just checked 6 things off and added 8 more. I mean, really... But part of this also means daydreaming about future growth and updating the business plan accordingly, so that's fun.
- Bookkeeper: Keep track of all of your expenditures and sales. You simply can't mess this up.
- Accountant: Sales Tax. Income Tax. You'll be glad you were a good bookkeeper.
- Customer Service: Keep your new clients happy and retain them. Hopefully that means just doing what you do. But always be ready to resolve a hiccup with finesse.
- Baker: You know, the thing you originally wanted to be. You do get to spend some time doing that. Don't forget that in addition to actually baking, you need to continually work on menu and recipe development.
- Dishwasher: Yes, you do your own dishes, clean your own mats, sweep your own floors, and don't forget to dump your own compost, recycling, and trash. -And wash your aprons.
- Driver: Guess who gets to make all the deliveries when all the aforementioned tasks are complete. Yes. You do!
More than likely, you're an organized person who is adept at keeping the ball rolling smoothly. But there are times when anyone might stall on something in which they're not really fluent. That's okay. Take the time to figure it out through critical thinking or just ask for help. I'm sure nobody ever started a business for the first time knowing absolutely everything there was to know about how to do it.
Getting in gear for each responsibility or project isn't always easy, but you learn so much about what you're capable of if you power through. My main tip is to consciously construct your schedule. Trying to change gears from Baker to T-shirt Designer back to back might not be as productive as Manager to T-shirt Designer. Keep your workflow strategic and aligned with your individual approaches to productivity as much as possible. Also, focus on your goals when things get bumpy, so you don't lose your ambition. Finally, enjoy your new hats.