Editor’s note: Veteran entrepreneur and blogger Joe Procopio follows up his series on “Five Stages of Startup” (see links included with this post) with a new series “Five Roles of Startup.” He begins with “Vision.”

DURHAM, N.C. – One of the truest descriptions of an entrepreneur is a person who has to do a lot of different things at the same time. The term for this has always been “wearing a lot of different hats.” I don’t like this term, mostly because it implies that you have to take your leader hat off to put your builder hat on. 

The truth is you have to stack several hats on your head at once. Like Bartholomew Cubbins.

On any given day, an entrepreneur must be a leader, a builder, a salesperson, an accountant, and do several other jobs. As the company grows, you can hire other people to do some of these jobs for you. Hopefully, the people you hire will be better at these things than you are.

If you think about all the things an entrepreneur has to do, it can be overwhelming. Maybe you’re an expert at one or two of them, or maybe none of them, and that’s OK. Maybe you’re good at a few others. Maybe you stink at finance, or sales, but if nobody is paying the bills or bringing in money to pay those bills, your company is not going to last long.

I’m not going to talk about every job at once. Much like when I wrote about the Five Stages of Startup and broke the timeline down into a simplified roadmap, I’ll reduce the dozens of jobs an entrepreneur needs to do down to five basic roles you have to fill.

The five roles I’m discussing are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup’s organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and most of the time two or more of these roles are going to be played by the same person.

First off, here are all five roles (with links where the lesson has been published), because before you dig deeper into any of them, you should be aware of what they all are:

  • Vision – Founding, Leadership, Management, Product, Future. This is the one I’m talking about now. There is also:
  • Build – Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support
  • Sales – Salespeople, Marketing, Business Development, Public Relations
  • Operations – Human Resources, Finance, Legal, Administration
  • Growth – Investor, Advisor, Mentor, Service Provider, Community

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