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The Many Hats of a Business Owner

As a Business Owner, one often winds up doing may different jobs in the early years. As your business grows you can hire others to assist you. Below is an article my late wife, Gisel and I wrote some years ago in a newsletter we published, called Cornucopia, Ideas for Better Living. Hope you enjoy.


  If you are like most home-business owners, you’ll end up doing all the work for a while. It’s important for you to figure out, in advance, exactly how you are going to get everything done in the time available to you. Stop and think about all the business hats you may have to wear, and be realistic about your ability to do all the work that may be involved. Following is a list of just some of the many different people you may have to be at one time or another:

General Manager. You get the worrisome jobs simply because you’re the decision maker and risk taker. You also get to write all the business plans and read a wide variety of business publications to stay informed.

Marketing Manager. You get the job of figuring out who customers might be, where they are, and how you can sell to them. You, too, must read a variety of business and marketing publications to stay abreast of what’s happening in your industry and which marketing strategies are likely to work for you.

Advertising Manager. You work closely with the marketing manager to decide when and where to place ads, and what type (classified or display) to place. It’s your job to send for rate cards and sample magazines (ad media kits).

Copywriter. You get to write the copy that goes into the company’s sales brochures, flyers and catalogs, not to mention press releases and advertisements. You will need to constantly hone your writing skills by studying the finer points of copywriting shared by experts in books and magazines.

Graphic Artist and Printer Liaison. Naturally, you must work very closely with the copywriter to achieve the right blend of copy and art on all printed materials, and you get the job of pasting everything together for the printer, as well as following through to the completion of each job.

Secretary and Customer Relations Service. You get to order office supplies, sign for packages, compose and type the business letters, handle customer complaints, and send away for everything needed by management.

File Clerk. And you get the job of figuring out what to do with the mountain of paperwork everyone else in the company is generating every day.

Bookkeeper. You will keep inventory records and post all income and expense figures to the company’s journals and ledgersafter you have set them up, of course. You (or the accountant) will also approve and pay bills, balance the checkbook, and organize and file all receipts for tax purposes.

Accountant. You will analyze the books and handle whatever the bookkeeper can’t do, such as fill out government forms for tax deposits or payments, do paperwork related to employees, and prepare quarterly and annual financial reports and tax returns. You will also take time to stay abreast of changes in tax laws that might affect your business.

Computer Expert. One of you guys is also going to have to become the computer expert if you hope to long survive in business. (Let’s give this job to the general manager, who started this whole thing.)

And if you run a product-oriented business, plan on being Production Manager, Production Worker, Order Fulfillment Clerk, and Shipping Clerk, as well.

You may be thinking that it’s impossible for any one person to do all the individual jobs listed above; yet, that’s exactly what you’ll have to do if you are a sole proprietor with no money to hire outside help. Now do you understand why so many new businesses fail? Too many people start with no idea of all the work that must be done, let alone the special skills or experience some jobs require. As you can see, there are many individual and important jobs to be done, even in the smallest business, and your main job now is to decide which ones you are capable of doingor learningand which ones you’ll have to get help with.

Excerpted from Homemade Money ©1994 by Barbara Brabec. Betterway Books, 1507 Dana Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45207; (800)289-0963. ISBN# 1-55870-328-4l $19.95 (+$3.00 s/h).

Here’s to your Business Success!

Jerry D Ross

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