According to author Patsy Stone “you can never have too many hats, gloves and shoes”. I don’t know about gloves but, in today’s world, it seems we are all wearing more hats.  The shoes thing is a topic all in itself. LOL. But, back to the hats.  I Googled the subject “entrepreneurs wearing more hats”. The search came back with 3,070,000 results. Clearly I am not alone in my thinking that we are all wearing more hats these days. If you are a baby boomer, you’re wearing more hats in the work world and as part of the sandwich generation you’re wearing more hats at home as well. The question then becomes how do we manage all the hats we are wearing? If only one of the hats came with a crystal ball!

One of the biggest struggles is time – there is never enough of it. As an entrepreneur, we usually fall into bed thinking of all the things we didn’t get done and all of the things that we need to tackle tomorrow. And the cliché “work smarter, not harder” really offers no help. The biggest struggle of all is that we are so busy working in our business, there is no time to work on our business. Realizing that it can be difficult since we are wearing so many hats that require us to suddenly be experts in areas we hadn’t necessarily considered. “Entrepreneurs have to be good at many things: The “product,” the pitch, the sale, the operations and the strategic, long-term view.” Lea Strickland, Experience Is No Guarantee for Entrepreneur, thestreet.com. We simply move forward with an idea that seems viable; that seems to fill a void so we get to work. Sometimes there’s a business plan but, more often than not, there isn’t. Even if there is a plan, the reality is usually very different from expectations. And whether you have a plan or not, the reality of starting your own business can be daunting. The best laid plans offer no guarantees. According to a CNN Money article, “Across the United State, small business failure rates rose 40% between 2007 and 2010” Catherine Ford, States with Worst Business Failure Rates, Money.CNN.com.

So how do we succeed then? The key is to not get mired down in the reality of day-to-day “must dos”. Remove yourself from react mode and shift to pro-act mode. Set time aside to assess your reality from your perception. Is your business going in the direction you intended? Or has it moved in a direction you didn’t expect? Are you okay with that? If not, what do you need to do to get your plan back on track? Look at the big picture first and decide which direction you need to move toward as your overall goal. When you can see the big picture, then you can begin the process of creating a strategy. “A strategic plan is the key to stay focused on your goals and objectives” . The strategy must come before the tactics. Tactics are great but, without a strategy, they are purposeless. Tactics are a reaction to the “must dos”. While it’s not easy to step back and take the time, it just might be the best business decision you ever make! It’s something we all have to do from time to time.

Helen Davis