Posted: Tue 4th May 2021
A familiar story, over a glass of wine or coffee, an Indian meal, a Chinese meal, a thought like a light bulb pops up brightly. Then there's a zing, an idea, the excitement builds, the possibilities of starting a business bubbles to the surface, your ideas become clearer, you can see what you have to do, what your product will be, how it will look, who it will appeal to.
You have an initial concept, a new product, it's fabulous and then your pal, that BIG inner voice starts to ask you the HOW, the WHY, the WHAT, the WHERE, the WHEN. You put one foot forward and suddenly the road ahead looks far away; you see your shining idea beckoning at the end of the road.
How are you going to turn your idea into a business but more importantly, how many hats will you have to wear?
Who will you have to be to walk down that long and exciting road to grab your prize?
I started my business with all the rush of the above, and wore so many hats that at times I couldn't see the sun. I thought I could do it all, every aspect of it.
With no previous business experience, and armed with just a great idea, enthusiasm, and optimism, I did succeed.
A few years down the line I found I needed more expertise in marketing, advertising, finance, logistics, planning and product development. The list was endless, and I realised I had to stop and pull back, review my strengths and take off some of my hats and offer them to others, allowing them to wear those hats and help me grow a more successful business.
It's hard to let go of your baby, but it's called tough love
Recognising your strengths is paramount to running a successful business and finding the right people with the skills around you who will share your vision and dreams will make or break you as a business owner.
I know that many of you reading this will have heard this before - as I did, too. There came a point when a strong wind blew off all my hats and left me with the one which I knew was my best fit: my ability to recognise my strengths and delegate.
It takes courage to let go and delegate but that is where one's strength as a small business owner lies. Often money comes into the decision-making part of it; starting out in business requires money and staff is often one of the most expensive parts of cash flow, but as J Paul Getty said: "I'd rather have 1% of the effort of 100 men than 100% of my own effort." Another way of looking at it is that it's better to have 10 people make £10 each than one person who makes £100.
Thinking and planning ahead
So, no matter if you are thinking of starting a business, have already started or are well down the road, thinking and planning ahead is part of the setup. Who do you have around you - family, friends, specialists similar to you - who can share all those wonderful hats - styles and fits - and help you succeed?
Most importantly, enjoy the hat that suits you the best and stride out with style, with all your other hatted friends, family and colleagues beside you.