Small business owners need to wear a lot of hats!

Hayley Williams owns Keystone Marketing. 

Hayley Williams owns Keystone Marketing. - Credit: HAYLEY WILLIAMS

My company has just reached the end of its financial year– and so I’ve been looking closely at our accounts recently. An important focus for the business that’s taken quite a bit of my time, whilst also managing current projects and new clients. And it is this juggling of focuses that got me thinking about how many hats you wear as a business owner.

I’d been employed in marketing roles for a number of years in the past; making me perfectly suited to running a marketing agency. Or so I thought. From day one as a small business owner, you become every single business department.

You are responsible for each and every decision and task. When I set up Keystone, marketing was no longer my only role. Setting up the business was not just about doing what I loved, in a framework that I chose. It meant setting up and managing all the other things that were necessary to keep the company running too.

I became head of finance, operations manager, sales director of the IT department to name a few. Oh, and the marketing team. Each and every decision and activity for the business started and ended with me. I’d never undertaken business studies qualifications or training and so, like many new business owners, I had to learn as I went along.

It was a steep learning curve. I like to think that I’m organised, with a strong ability to multitask and am always motivated to learn new things. However, in those early days building my business, I soon realised that it's not possible to know it all, do it all or be good at everything. No matter how hard I tried. And so I delegated.


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I soon realised that to build my business, I needed to build a support crew around me. I looked at the tasks that I either wasn’t doing, or not doing effectively - because I didn’t have the time or the knowledge – and I sought help. I freed up my time to fully concentrate on the areas that I was most suited to lead, and enabled the business to benefit from those who could tackle other areas better or more quickly than I could.

Today, I’m lucky to have an in-house and outsourced team around me. Professionals who are specialisms in their fields, as I am in mine, that can make sure that each and every area of my business works beautifully. I still spin a number of plates as a sole business owner (and the odd one might fall), but I certainly don’t feel like I’m doing it alone.

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