February 17, 2010
Small Business Management
The Dr Jekyll and Mr(Ms) Hyde approach
First of all for simplicity, lets just define small business as: large business with less revenue and resources. Therefore, in small business we manage by wearing many hats to cover the fact that there are missing resources. If you hear the expression, wearing many hat, it is usually muttered by a small business owner.
Too many hats is a very common problem of many small businesses. Each hat represents a role, not a new fashion or change in season. As a small business owner we are a person and a manager. The Dr Jekyll in us is the person, and the Mr/Ms Hyde is the manager.
Dr Jekyll is rational and often applies intuitive solutions.
Mr/Ms Hyde is the manager and works through business constraints with spread sheets, reports and Power Points.
Now to share my personal experience with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
When I report into the boss each and every morning, I see only one image in the mirror. Dr Jekyll. Good morning boss, you need a shave. I see only the person (Dr Jekyll), a rational and logical image, albeit a bit groggy at five in the morning. As a person, I can usually be counted on to make logical, intuitive decisions on what to do and what not to do with my personal time and money. For three examples, in my collection of personal tools I own:
1/ a set of socket wrenches
2/ a pair of scissors
3/ an electric drill
However, owning the equipment to do the task, does not always mean that I feel obligated or will even attempt to complete tasks in my personal life. I often choose to outsource some tasks.
1/ I do not change vehicle oil ( the sockets fit under the car, I do not)
2/ I do not cut my hair (this is no longer a serious operation on my head, I just choose to show off and go to a barber)
3/ I do not fix my teeth (I actually like going to the dentist, she is the only lady in Ottawa that tells me to open my mouth)
As a person, I accept these as wise and logical decision in the best interest of my personal health and well being.
Now, lets get down to business.
My Mr. Hyde comes out front and center. He takes total charge of the health and well being of my business. All the hats are his. All his. I’ve been at management in small and large business long enough to recognize the hats represent roles. I use hats as an acronym to remind myself of the importance of each role. HATS – Have Always To Supply. So I know each hat/role must be supplied to make the business run. Lets just recap some of the major hats/roles
Finance (banking, A/P, A/R, budget, etc)
Business Development (etc)
As a person, I would probably pick the hats that really fit and find a head for the others. The Mr. Hyde approach is that with enough force, all hats fit, I can do them all. The logic of overload seems to escape Mr. Hyde and risk and time do not scare him at all. This is no easy wrestling match with Mr. Hyde. I have not yet solved this issue and canned a solution for your use. So each morning I face the mirror trying to get Mr. Hyde to show himself, so I can give him the tune-up he requires. Overload is not a business objective or goal. It is a constraint. Do not stay in this mode.
I have however developed three tips to share:
First/ Face the mirror each day, knowing Mr/Ms Hyde is hiding in there.
Second/ Take first choice of the hats that really fit.
Third/ Give some of Mr/Ms Hyde’s hats officially away. (delegate, outsource, contract, exchange)