7 Main Responsibilities of a Small Business Owner

Running a business comes with exciting opportunity, flexibility, and independence, but it’s also a major role to take on. Depending on your unique business situation, you’re probably doing much more than overseeing operations. Even when you’re involved in all the different everyday tasks, it’s important to remember your core responsibilities.

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Creating a business plan and strategy

As the owner of the small business, you decide the direction you’re heading and how you’ll get there. Setting benchmarks based on your long-term vision can help you understand what you need to achieve your dreams, whether that be time, resources, strategies, or a helping hand. If you do have a team supporting you, they’ll be empowered in their work when you’re transparent about your plan of action.

It can take a brainstorming session or two, or five, to narrow down what your most meaningful goals are and how they translate into actionable steps. Don’t hesitate to set aside time for high-level planning sessions where you measure progress, gather insights, and readjust the game plan if necessary.

To learn more about why a plan is important, read this article in Forbes from the SmartBiz Loans CEO Evan Singer (to be published soon)

Keeping track of finances and accounting

Most small businesses (81%, to be exact) apply for a business loan or an SBA loan at some point. Depending on your needs and financial history, you’ll probably have to weigh your options when it comes to outside financing. Unless you’ve hired an accountant or bookkeeper, you’re also responsible for establishing and maintaining business bank accounts, payment processing systems, taxes, and day-to-day costs.

Not sure how you can apply the funds from a small business loan? Read our in-depth guide on the SmartBiz Resource Center: Determining Use of Proceeds | SmartBiz University.

Handling legal and compliance responsibilities

Running the ship comes with a new level of freedom, but it also means complying with rules and regulations. From the very beginning when you’re forming a business structure to the daily routines like drafting contracts and agreements, you should have at least some knowledge of the laws specific to your industry, location, and business type. When you need professional advice, it might be worth working with an attorney.


Managing marketing and sales

Even with a standout product or service, you’ll need to establish solid marketing strategies to bring customers through the door and drive your sales up. With so many available options out there, it’s up to you to decide the approach that fits best with your business goals. Some opportunities include social media, print advertising, PR, and event marketing.

Looking for low-cost marketing ideas? It all starts with your brand. Read our top tips on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog.

Ensuring outstanding customer service

Next, once you’ve built a customer base, consider keeping them engaged throughout the sales process. Forming a relationship with the individuals who use your product or service is key to keep them coming back and even referring more customers. Whether you have a sales team or you’re wearing all the hats, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you manage and automate your processes. Looking into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms is a great place to start. For inspiring customer service stories, check out this post: 6 Best Examples of Customer Service (to be published)

Identifying hiring and HR needs

As your small business grows, you might find that it’s time to hire help. Before you take the plunge and start placing ads, consider how much you’re willing to offer for potential candidates. Just like any other venture, this decision is probably a major turning point for your business so don’t underestimate the impact that hiring can have. Some of your responsibilities as the owner include identifying your company’s needs, crafting job descriptions, interviewing candidates, and making key hiring decisions.

For more key steps you need to know about in the hiring process, visit our blog.

Overseeing the team

The work doesn’t stop there—once you’ve hired the employees you think are a good fit, it’s your job to train, manage, and lead by example. When questions or concerns arise, you should be there for your team. Be sure to comply with local hiring laws to avoid any missteps that can result in big consequences. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor to learn what it takes to hire employees in your area.

Small business resources

As you see continued business success, you’ll probably identify key areas where you can grow. A boost in cash flow means that you can expand your programs and build your operations. Interested in receiving personalized recommendations and tips that can help you take your business to the next level?

Get started with SmartBiz Advisor today. Our free, AI-powered tool will be your Intelligent CFO, providing you with the insights and resources you need to strengthen your lending profile and qualify for the funding you deserve.