Small business owners are all too often also their own Presidents and CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, middle managers, administrative assistants, janitors and night watchmen. No job is too lofty or too lowly.
If that loyal customer of your Indian restaurant ordered dhingri dulma five minutes before the kitchen closes, but your cooks chopped up the last batch of mushrooms an hour earlier—you might be the one to make a quick run to the nearby grocer.
If your gas station restroom sink just sprung a leak that would put that oil-spurting Fiat in your repair bay to shame, you're likely to don your low-riding repair pants and play plumber for the good part of an afternoon.
And so on and on and on….
Here are a few helpful tips for when you put on the various PR-, HR-, and marketing-related hats among your all-too-many alter egos:
Copywriter: Sending an email that you desperately want your customers to open? Avoid the temptation to use a tantalizing teaser that promises more than it can deliver. You'll hurt your own cause—because the people you've fooled once won't be fooled again. And they just might click on that Spam button... making a fool of you.
Customer Relations: You have customers; if you're lucky (actually, if you're really good at what you make or do), you have a community of loyal customers—so loyal, that they're fans and want to help you. But they likely don't even know how. So how can you help them help you? Tell them. Give them talking points—and action items. For example, you might ask them to talk to their local supermarket about carrying your brand of bacon salt!
Human Resources: Micromanage your employees! That bit of advice may run counter to conventional theory, but as any small business owner with experience hiring and managing employees will tell you, reality is different from theory. Sure, if you hire exactly the right person, you won't need to micromanage. But when was the last time you found that perfect employee—and could afford to keep her with the salary you could afford to pay?
Axe man: Related to (pun intended) the previous tip: Fire relatives who don't perform much better than unrelated employees. That's because relatives working in a family business often feel entitled—and that attitude will cause other employees' morale to wither... and dry up your business, too.
As a small business owner, your multifaceted modus operandi includes having to don multifarious hats. No matter which one happens to be on your head, keeping a cool head—using good judgment—will serve you well.
Photo credit: Lin Pernille Photography