There are roughly 33.2 million small businesses that operate in the United States. Every one of these companies, from the local café you snag a coffee at in the morning to the contacting business used to build your new baby room, accounts for 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. These firms are integral not only to the diversity of choice we experience in our country but the durability of our future economy.
The problem is that small business owners are often described as individuals “wearing too many hats.” They are superheroes doing everything they can to make their dream come true, even when they face challenging odds, slowing supply chains, and difficulties in hiring experienced team members. When you run a small business, you are responsible for every aspect of its success. From running the financials to ensuring your taxes are in order to marketing a new product or dealing with human resources.
This level of responsibility can quickly become overwhelming. We need small business owners to feel supported in each endeavor. They are the ones providing jobs and driving innovation. Let’s explore why small business owners wear so many different hats, the consequences of this challenge, and what possible solutions are available to overcome such adversity.
The Hats Small Business Owners Wear
Small business owners have to be responsible for a wide range of tasks. Whether they believe it or not, it is incredibly hard to give control of a company to other individuals to manage. Even worse, the daily task you hope to achieve may feel less important in the hands of someone else. Without that infrastructure of trust in place, small business owners often play out different roles in a company like:
- CEO: as the driving force behind their companies, small business owners must set the vision, mission, and make strategic decisions to ensure the ship is sailing in the correct orientation.
- Accountant: small business owners are often the sole responsible party for complete financial management that can include tasks like bookkeeping, budgeting, tax preparation, employee benefits, and more.
- Marketer: there is no better advocate for a small business than the owner. We put in the time to attract new customers and open new pathways of communication through marketing materials, social media, and developing ad campaigns.
- HR Representative: a small business owner must learn to manage their team correctly, as they are the responsible party for hiring, firing, setting policies, and keeping current with any local, state, or national labor laws.
- IT Support: whenever a new technology is introduced by a small business owner, they often feel obligated to set it up, maintain the hardware/software, deal with troubleshooting issues, and manage cybersecurity.
The worst part is this is only a partial list. We could go on and on about how many different hats a small business owner puts on throughout their normal activities. Anyone with that breadth of responsibility would suffer from burnout and fatigue. That can be a hard reality to face when you want to focus on more rewarding goals instead, like new product development, legacy preparation, or innovation.
The Consequences of Wearing Too Many Hats
So, now that we have a clearer understanding of how varied the roles of a small business owner can be, what downside is there? We often put small business owners up on a pedestal as examples of capitalism at work. Those enduring individuals who are willing to sacrifice who they are for a time while building something new.
While the great American dream of building something new may seem intoxicated, the reality is often quite different. We, as small business owners, get a little lost in our fight for the company to succeed, and we harm our own peace of mind. Burnout becomes our new best friend. Working long hours and being responsible for a growing stack of tasks can quickly lead to exhaustion, decreased productivity, and even potential health problems.
The stress of the pressure to succeed becomes an overwhelming tidal wave. Too many tasks paint our ability to think clearly into a corner, and we risk making significantly damaging operations decisions that require a team to unravel. That stress leads to anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues.
When you feel exhausted and anxious about the success of your project, productivity goes down. The struggle to “keep up” with all the hats you choose to put on leads to missed deadlines, decreased quality of work, and plenty of opportunities passing right by as you bury your head into more and more work.
The result is a general inability to focus on core competencies. If you spend hours every day ironing out the accounting needs of your business when you should be approving marketing efforts and leading new product development, you will not have a balanced business. Being stretched too thin makes it hard to maintain the level of operations you need for your business to stay afloat.
Solutions for Small Business Owners
Luckily, there are many ways to alleviate the pressure, stress, and burnout most small business owners feel whenever putting on too many hats. It comes down to balancing your effort with the best tools available for you to succeed.
Start by delegating tasks to other workers. Even if you know they will not do as good a job as you will at that task, your role is not to micromanage everything. You need to be able to sit back and direct resources to a problem because you are at the heart of the company, not running around each department and doing everything on your own. This might mean hiring new team members, working with contractors, or even introducing AI tools into your framework.
Many small business owners outsource critical tasks to third-party providers. This typically includes those bigger ongoing issues that require direct attention to complete, like accounting, social media management, or digital marketing.
You want to hire teams and individuals that are experts in their specific roles. That means picking up an employee with direct marketing experience willing to stretch your branding across multiple online and offline channels.
There is also a lot to be said about automation. Using AI or other technology to automate the repetitive, mundane tasks of your operation frees up critical resources that can be redirected to customer relationships and innovating new ideas for the business’s future.
It is important you remember that wearing too many hats is not a sustainable long-term strategy. You have to get comfortable with delegating tasks or hiring new people, even if you feel it is a risk to trust others.
This delegation is precisely where Green Valley Tax Services can help. We frequently work with small business owners by improving their financial infrastructure and taking the weight of bookkeeping, tax preparation, and more off their shoulders. Schedule a meeting with our professional and experienced team today, and let’s build a tailored solution for your company.
Understanding how to balance the need for all the hats you may wear as a small business owner is crucial to your future success. It creates a system you can rely upon to operate when you're gone, so your legacy business remains intact and vibrant for the next in line to step up and elevate.