"When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly. "
- Barbara Winter
Small business owners and entrepreneurs do whatever is required to make their businesses a success. This could mean doing everything from emptying the trash cans, to picking up the mail at the post office, to making sales calls, to changing the go-to-market strategy.
It depends on the business and how you as the owner choose to spend your time.
Every small business owner has six key areas of responsibility:
- Staffing and management,
- Planning and strategy,
- Daily operations,
- Sales and marketing,
- Customer service.
1. Staffing and Management
Small business owners are responsible for putting a top-notch team in place to operate the business. This includes recruiting and hiring new staff. It also means training and developing existing staff.
Small business owners write job descriptions, provide feedback and performance reviews, and reward employees with pay, benefits and recognition.
Small business owners are responsible for the fiscal health of their companies. It’s up to the owner to establish a viable business model for how the company will earn money. The owner is responsible for establishing budgets and sales forecasts — and making sure the company meets them. The owner may actually invoice customers, collect overdue accounts, keep the accounting system up to date and reconcile bank statements.
3. Planning and Strategy
Small business owners are responsible for setting strategy and having a business plan. They establish the vision and mission for their businesses. “Every entrepreneur should ask and answer the question ‘what do we want to be known for?’ If you can’t do that, your business will be rudderless and could lack distinction,”
4. Daily Operations
Small business owners are responsible for carrying out daily operations. For example, the owner of an organic food business may have a big role in growing and harvesting the food. But it’s important to look up from doing to see the bigger picture. That’s why smart entrepreneurs work on the efficiency and effectiveness of daily operations.
5. Sales and Marketing
Small business owners are responsible for sales revenue and marketing to drive sales. Many owners, especially in the early years, also go on sales calls and help close sales. Owners may get involved in marketing, including establishing campaigns, placing ads, doing email marketing and social media marketing.
6. Customer Service
Small business owners are responsible for the overall customer service experience. It starts with making sure your company delivers a quality product. But the whole experience should delight customers. “In the early years, it’s common for the owner to be the person answering the phone or manning live chat to solve customer issues. Later as the business grows, smart entrepreneurs put in place a customer service organization and empower them to solve problems,