The 5 hats every entrepreneur has to wear to succeed

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Starting and running your own business is such a difficult task, and not everyone can do it successfully. Things are always moving, and you’re the one with the “particular set of skills” to make sure nothng goes wrong. Or, you know, fix them when they do.  It’s not strange to see a business founder, wearing many hats during the lifetime of his business. The following five though, are the major ones you’ll have to wear to ensure your business’success.

 1. Head of Customer Acquisition

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Customers are the soul of business. Without customers, you have no business at all. From the moment your business is born, till you raise your first round of funding, to when you exit or IPO, you’ll be the company’s number one customer acquisition and business development personnel. In your early days, you will approach companies, friends, colleagues looking for someone to buy into your idea. If business keeps doing well, you’ll graduate into the upper echelons of business development. Your meetings will then be with investors and captains of industries, trying to secure business deals and partnerships.

Skills needed: Negotiating skills, humour, storytelling, pitching skills, a robust contact list.

2. Accountant

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Adequate bookkeeping will keep you in the know of your business’ profitability. This is not knocking the fact that you need an accountant, like Lanre Akinlagun pointed out. But you still need to have a basic knowledge of cash flow. You want to know your burn rate, so you don’t run out of money. You want to keep overheads low. Luckily, technology has lowered the entry point considerably. There are courses on Coursera that serve as a good primer on accounting. There are also software tools like Quickbooks.

Skills needed: Basic accounting 101

3. Watchdog

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9 out of every 10 startup fails. That means your business has a 9/10 chance of hitting the rocks and sinking. So, it’s your duty to play lookout. You’re the eye in the sky, with your spatial awareness skills on hyper drive, observing trends and predicting markets. You’re also keeping a watchful eye on your competition. What are they doing? Are they eyeing any new markets? Are they changing pricing strategies? Let it not be said, that it was on your watch that the business crashed and burned.

Skills needed: spatial awareness, business intelligence.

4. Quarterback

ESPN Rise Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp at TCU
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As the quarterback, you’re the captain of your team’s offense. Which means, when it’s time to execute plans and strategies, you’ll be making a lot of the calls. Even when your business grows and you hire assistants and executive directors, they’ll still defer to you for the tough calls. And that’s when it really matters. You’re also the one painting the picture of what is ahead.

Skills needed: confidence, and a lorry load of luck.

5. Company Miyagi


Running a business can be a pain. Running a successful business can be an even bigger pain. No matter how kickass your team is, the pressure will get to a lot of them. Some of them will experience burnout. That’s why you’ll have to play the role of mentor. And sometimes, company shrink. When you see the pressure weighing down your team, you’re the one to call for a time out. You’ll also be the one to offer a listening ear, when you can; offer support when needed and just build your team into one big happy family, the kind that kicks ass when it’s game day. The best founders inspire confidence in those around them, train others to do what they do so they can delegate, give their power away, wax on, wax off.

Do this, and you’ll have a workforce willing to go to the moon and back, just for you.

Skills needed: Be a human being, not a robot i.e. Empathy.


I'm 3 parts geek, 1 part funny man, and the last part is between me and my shrink. Technology Editor at Enterprise54. I write about (obsess over) gadgets, tech and startups. Send me stuff.

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