If you own or work in a small business you are probably going to wear many hats on any given business day. While at times this will be a frustrating part of the small business condition, I’ve come to realize it’s where much of our true competitive advantage stems from.
- Human Resources
Are they hats or functional silos? In business school they referred to the small business hats as functional silos. As I look back on this I find the use of the word silo unfortunately accurate for larger businesses. I say unfortunate because so much of what needs to happen in business on a daily basis crosses functional silos. Seldom is only one silo involved in driving change. So, how do you get the people in the silos to work together? Go all the way to the top and have meetings.
Cross-functional projects. Say for example you want to run a small marketing campaign targeted at select existing customers. Which hats/silos would be involved? I’m thinking Marketing, Finance, Legal and maybe Production for sure. In a larger organization to get all these players together you would create a multi-functional cross-department team to complete the project. It would probably take a minimum of 30 days to make it happen. In a small business you get up early and go to bed late and address all the facets yourself or with the help of external experts you pick up the phone and call. Time to completion? As little as a few days.
The hats are the advantage. All the hats you sometimes complain about having to wear, those are your very advantage over the big guys. Even if your small business has a handful of people responsible for the above functional areas you still have the ability to be more nimble and faster to respond to opportunities.
Do you see all the hats you have to wear for the advantage they are?