Probably like most people, I have a large number of interests and love learning new things. As an entrepreneur, however, that means I end up taking on too much and not focusing on what might actually take my ideas the farthest.
We have to be able to recognize opportunities, have ideas, validate ideas, build or find people to build those ideas, and pretty much convince everyone from potential customer to partner to investor that they need to give a damn.
Since there's so much to do, it seems to me like being a great communicator is the number one skill an entrepreneur should focus on. You can learn to code if you have time, but without being able to find the right audience and deliver the message they want, you're not going to make it very far. You can try doing everything yourself, but you really should be communicating your vision to others to get them on board, so much so that they believe in your product enough that they'll volunteer their time to help you do something amazing.
Those are my observations, but I'm really curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
We're very lucky today to live in the "global village" we do.
I can't imagine how hard it would have been for a young entrepreneur to find the right people before the world was so connected. Then again, I suppose that explains how so many entrepreneurs are popping up all the time today.
Being an entrepreneur is not about going it alone, it's about identifying needs and being able to get the right team in place to get make your vision a reality. There is no better way to make yourself a successful entrepreneur than by finding the right people to help you when you need help.
To run a successful business today you need so many skills which draw on so many fields that it's pretty much impossible to do it yourself, and that's ok... As an entrepreneur you should see your primary role as 3 fold:
1) You're the dreamer responsible for coming up with the next big thing and the plan to make it big
2) You're the communicator who has to be able to effectively turn your vision into a clear, communicable plan which you can share internally to help your team get it built, and externally to get your product sold
3) The financier in charge of coming up with the cash to get people paid and to get your idea off the ground.
While you're bootstrapping you'll need to leverage any other skills you may have, to try to cut costs where you can, but it's always important to recognize that cutting costs while costing time is a net loss. Only cut costs when you can do as good a job as someone who you can get to help you, in the same amount of time.
Find yourself couple of key resources you can afford, you can trust, and who "get it" and understand your communication style and you'll be able to press forward at a pace you'd never imagined.
As a one man band with an overflow of business at any given point in time I find that I have to wear all hats in my business so efficient use of time is critical for me. I follow these guidelines and it works well for me:
Take these four not-so-easy steps to be more in balance:
* Determine what's important to you. What do you value most no matter what?
* Keep those priorities right in front of your nose at all times.
* Say "No" to anything that detracts from your priorities.
* Spend your time on your priorities. Otherwise, they are not really your priorities. If you proclaim that your health is a priority, spit out the Twinkie and get moving.
Sit down with paper and pen, or PC and mouse. Answer these questions:
* What hats do you wear and what tasks come with each hat?
* What hats can you hang on the hat rack? You can always put a hat back on at a later date.
* In what order will you prioritize your hats? Hint: They can't all be number one.
* Have you delegated tasks and hats? Have you tossed unnecessary hats and tasks into the dumpster-o-life? Or do you keep precariously stacking hat upon hat?
* Have you made time for your physical, mental and emotional health? Remember, you can't give what you don't have.
* Are you laughing enough? Everyone will benefit if you get a grin.
* Cultivate simple pleasures that take less time and money. A walk with your family can be accomplished every week instead of waiting for the semi-decade wallet buster trip to Disneyland. Having more life balance is a choice. Choose or lose.
Your question contains an assumption that I think we need to address before I can answer properly.
The assumption is that you avoid wearing too many hats by finding what your real strengths are. The inference is that determining your strength(s) is the key to avoiding too many hats. And I disagree with that assumption. Here's why:
Many entrepreneurs and business owners know what they are good at. They know where they are passionate. They know which activities drive them and fill them with excitement and energy. Yet they still end up wearing "too many hats" because they never do one critical thing... They never determine foundational goals and they never build a solid business strategy to achieve those goals.
Without a solid strategy the entrepreneur jumps from one "opportunity" to another... They run around putting out fires and implementing undirected but exciting tactics. And though they may do so with passion and skill these things will generally fail to result in building a business. Lack of focus (on foundational goals and the strategies they've chosen to attain them) results in a poor probability of success.
Okay.. enough pontificating. The answer to your inferred question "How do you determine which hat(s) to wear?" is this:
1. Figure out your foundational goals (personal and then business)
2. Build a financial and revenue model that gives you the greatest probability of achieving those goals (I call the resulting business a Minimally Viable Business Model)
3. Complete your business model such that you identify your market, USP and message, product/service menu, etc.
4. Use that model to choose and develop at least one In-bound and one Out-bound marketing process
5. Deliver your message to the determined market, track your results and make adjustments as needed to increase your probability of success
In doing these things you'll end up with a clearly identified list of actions you must take on a day to day basis. The aforementioned steps will tell you:
-Who to market to and where to find them (or how and where they'll find YOU)
-What to communicate to them (including your USP and an irresistible offer)
-How much you can afford to invest in acquiring clients/customers (aka spend on marketing)
-How to price your products/services
-Who to hire
and dozens of other things you need to know and execute in order to grow a successful business.
Then, based on your resources (i.e. time, capital, connections, etc) you, as the owner, can decide what to personally do (aka which hat(s) to wear) and what to either hire others to do, outsource, etc.
I use a 6 step process that encompasses ALL of this with my clients - And the main thing they tell me it does for them is to help get them out of reactive mode. They are then able to (finally) focus all of their energy and passion and resources into suddenly obvious action steps to help them build their business.
If this is of interest to you - give me a call.
In any case - I wish you massive success and the best of luck!