12 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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Why is it important to know the responsibilities of a small business owner?

Being a small business owner means wearing many hats and juggling many responsibilities each day. Understanding your responsibilities helps you stay organized and on the track to growth. Here’s why it’s important to know your responsibilities:

  • Increased efficiency. Knowing that your responsibilities include the hiring and training process and overseeing your current employees means you’ll never neglect one group at the other’s expense. As a result, everyone will have all the resources they need to complete their work. With full resource access, your employees will get their work done more quickly, and your company will be more efficient.
  • Less time wasted. When you sit atop the chain of command, your actions (or inaction) often affect your work environment and output. For example, if your development team can’t offer new goods or services without you approving the budget, your company loses precious time if you neglect your financial responsibilities. This possibility is far less likely if you know all your responsibilities.
  • More knowledge. If you’re aware that business owners oversee customer service, marketing, finances, and all kinds of other tasks, you build knowledge in all kinds of areas. This means you have a stronger foundation to pull from when drafting a business plan for any new initiatives. It also means knowing what will and won’t work when executing your social media marketing strategy. For small business owners, knowledge is power.

12 responsibilities of a small business owner

Among the (many) responsibilities of a small business owner are the following:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Managing day-to-day operations

As a small business owner, you need to identify and manage all processes that keep your customers happy and support healthy growth, from manufacturing products to signing off on invoices. Although you don’t necessarily need to be hands-on in every process, you do need to make sure your team completes every step in a timely, thorough manner. Without this management, your products or services might not reach your standards.

9. Planning new initiatives

If your day-to-day operations aren’t getting you where you want to be, maybe it’s time to branch out. The responsibility for planning this expansion falls on you, though you can seek help from your employees or business partners. Market research will come in handy here, as will identifying other companies with which you can partner. So too will drafting a business plan for your new initiatives. Learn more via the SmartBiz Loans blog Ultimate Guide on How to Start A Business Plan.

10. Training your team

Employee training doesn’t stop after the initial onboarding process. Continued training is highly recommended, as it can minimize employee mistakes and prepare your team for any new paths your company might take. However, even if you task certain employees with executing your training program, it remains your responsibility to ensure everyone is receiving adequate instructions. After all, it’s your business – you wouldn’t want anyone working for you without being fully prepared.

11. Addressing technology issues

Small business owners like yourself should know the ins and outs of all the technology their company uses. This way, both new and longtime employees can go to you for quick, thorough answers. The result is a more efficient team that doesn’t fall behind when technological obstacles arise.

12. Staffing and management

As the owner of your company, you’re the final step for all human resources, customer service, and employee management concerns. Depending on the type of company you own, you may have sole discretion over these concerns. Alternatively, if you’re small enough that you’ve outsourced your HR to a third party, this entity may handle it. However, if you’re unhappy with how things are handled, you still get the final say.

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.

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