There are certain tasks that are performed regularly by small business owners. This means that anyone who is planning to set up a small business needs to be ready to perform these tasks, on a regular basis. The tasks in question include:
1. Hiring employees for the small business
Small businesses tend to experience high rates of staff turnover. In certain lines of business, it is actually not uncommon for the owners to find themselves having to hire new employees on a weekly basis! The sad reality is that many people don’t view small businesses as ‘prestigious’ places to work at — and they are therefore always in search of greener pastures. That is one of the key reasons behind the high rates of staff turnover in small businesses. Even for businesses that are able to retain staff for longer periods of time, you still tend to find the need to hire new people arising from time to time. Thus as a person who is planning to start a new small business, you need to be ready to be hiring from time to time — and the hiring process can be a rather tedious one. And more importantly, you need (right from the outset) to have some understanding of what you need to do, in order to make the right hiring decisions whenever you are called upon to do so.
2. Managing employees for the small business
Closely related to the tasks of hiring employees for the small business is that of managing them. Actually, the task of managing the employees is a day-to-day, minute-to-minute one. It is something you have to do daily, from the time the business opens to the time it closes. Managing the employees is all about trying to get the best output from them. It is about getting the employees to understand your vision for the business, and getting them to actually buy into that vision. It is also about supervising the employees in a positive manner, and constantly finding ways to keep them motivated. Before setting up a new small business, you will need to have figured out how you will be managing your employees. You will then need to fine-tune those HR management strategies, in line with the reality you encounter on the ground. And on a day to day basis, you need to be ready to deal with a wide variety of issues related to HR management [which can be stressful].
3. Marketing the small business
The task of marketing the small business ultimately falls on the owner’s shoulders. Even when the business grows to a level where it is able to hire professional marketers, there is still the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that the marketing is being done in the right manner. And that responsibility belongs to the business owner. But in the early stages of the small business’ life, it is usually the business owner who has to design marketing campaigns (formal or informal) and see to it that they are properly implemented.
4. Addressing customers’ complaints
Closely related to the tasks of marketing the small business is that of addressing customers’ complaints. Anyone who doesn’t want to be dealing with customers’ complaints on a regular basis has absolutely no business in launching a small business. In some types of enterprises, you should actually expect to handle up to a dozen (or more) complaints per day. And even when the business grows to a level where you are able to hire professional customer service staff, there will still be the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that the customers’ complaints are handled properly. And that ultimate responsibility of ensuring that the customers’ complaints are handled properly falls squarely on the shoulders of the business owner. After all, isn’t it the small business owner who has the most to lose if the business starts losing customers?
5. Managing the small business’ finances
At the outset, this entails seeing to it that the capital that is available for starting the small business is deployed in an efficient manner. Thereafter, it is about seeing to it that the revenues that come into the business are managed in a prudent manner, and trying to minimize expenses without compromising on standards. It is also about seeing to it that the small business has a healthy cashflow and ensuring that there are proper books of account. Even when the business grows to a point of being able to afford a professional accountant, there will still always be the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that its finances are properly managed. And that ultimate financial management responsibility lies squarely with the business owner. Thus as long as you have a business in operation, you will always be dealing with financial management issues — directly or indirectly.
6. Dealing with government authorities
All legal businesses are subject to some form of government control. As such, running a small business will almost inevitably entail dealing with government authorities on a regular basis. Some government authorities can be rather nasty to deal with, but it is something you need to be ready (regularly) to handle as a small business owner. And this bit of dealing with government authorities is one that you may have to continue handling, even after the business experiences considerable growth. That is because some aspects of this may not be capable of being delegated to anyone else.
7. Dealing with the business’ suppliers
The suppliers in question here are the ones who provide you with the inputs necessary for you to come up with the products or services you are selling. The success of your small business depends to a great extent on how well you manage your relationships with the said suppliers. Dealing with the business suppliers is, for instance, about ensuring that orders for the inputs are made in good time. It is about seeing to it that the suppliers are paid on time, seeing to it that the suppliers are handled respectfully… and so on. These are tasks you need to be ready to perform on a regular basis as a small business owner. Even when the business grows to a level of being able to hire professionals to deal with the suppliers, there will still always be the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that the suppliers are handled properly. And that ultimate responsibility of seeing to it that the suppliers are dealt with properly will always lie on your shoulders, as the business owner.
8. Doing product/service quality control
For your small business to survive and thrive, it needs to be selling quality products or services to its customers. This therefore means that as a small business owner, you need to be constantly working hard to ensure that the quality of the product or service you are selling never falls below a certain threshold. This will mostly be a question of designing systems and processes aimed at coming up with a quality product or service consistently. It will — more importantly — be about ensuring that those systems and processes are properly implemented, in a consistent manner, to ensure that the product or service you are selling never falls below a certain threshold.