On wearing many hats well

Dear Prof,

How can I manage/prioritize all the different hats a small business owner wears such as marketing/sales, service, accounting, HR, etc.?

Dear Multi Hats,

Two words: highest leverage. What you focus on you get more of. Focus on what makes the most difference. This can be viewed at a couple of levels, but let’s start with a simple plan.

Four weeks in a month. Ask: What four priorities for the next month will shift what matters to me most? Concentrate on one of them the first day of your week or one or two hours a day for the week. For example:

Revenue: Brainstorm session. How can we generate new revenue?

Sales: Reach out to your top customers to make sure they remain so.

(Remember, the terms marketing and sales are like salt and pepper. They frequently appear in the same phrase, but while they complement each other, they are distinct from each other).

Team: Ensure each person has what they need, is coached to taking the next step in development and contribution, and has what they need for you to retain their talent and enthusiasm (or get new talent and enthusiasm, as the case may be).

Innovation: Take time to consider what’s in front of you and what can be improved. Question “the way it has always been” in reference to current processes, cost control and the effect of current practices. And, consider what doesn’t exist yet and what could be.

Small changes will catapult your results. Enjoy!


This business advice column speaks to the soulful side of business. It is designed for companies and individuals that want to excel, stand out, and realize ROWM: A Return on What Matters. It is based on the book from the business superhero The Profit Prophet. Please send your questions (may be anonymous) to