What does being a small business owner really mean? If you think it is merely putting an “Open for Business” sign on your doorstep, think again.
As a small business owner, particularly if you are a home business entrepreneur, you should be prepared to take on multiple responsibilities and tasks at the same time. You have to wear more than two hats at any one time – the business owner, accountant, bill collector, and others. Here’s a look at some of the roles that you have to play when you are running your own business:
You need to set the vision, mission and goals of your company to determine where your business will be both in the short-term and long-term. This entails the preparation of the business plan – crafting the operation plan, marketing and sales plan, financial plan, and contingencies. You will also be responsible for planning and executing any changes, whether you will expand the business or change its product line.
Unless you have money to burn, you need to do some form of research to determine your market prior to starting your business. You need to know who your customers are, where they are located, and their purchasing habits. You also need to know the level of saturation of the market, and your competitors’ strengths and characteristics.
Bookkeeper and Accountant
You need to be responsible for what records to keep and how to keep them, even if you are hiring an accountant to help you out. If you do not have an accountant, you will need to handle your tax and financial statements preparation. In such case, you need to have some knowledge of accounting and interpreting your financial statements.
You need to set up payment mechanisms that will be easy for your customers to pay and easy for you to collect. However, in the event that customers are unable to pay, you will have to take on the task of collecting overdue payments. You need to know what you can and can’t do in terms of collecting the payment, and when to give up and write off the debt.
With the critical role played by computers and technology in business nowadays, the task of choosing the equipment to use will lay on your shoulders. You also need to know how to install software programs, troubleshoot breakdowns and failures, and load apps for mobile devices and make decisions on equipment upgrades. You also should be aware of new technology that could improve the efficiency and performance of your business.
Clerk and Secretary
You also need to be your own typist, clerk, receptionist, and secretary, particularly if you are a solo business operator. You need to manage and organize your files, do your mailing, answer your telephones, and make your appointments.
Sales and Marketing Executive
You will be responsible for planning and executing your marketing and advertising plan. To some extent, you also need to be craft your own marketing materials – from your press/media kits, advertising copy, to classified ads, press and news releases, even article contributions to publicize your business. You will spend a considerable amount of time in a day marketing your business and networking with potential buyers, suppliers, or advisers.
Customer Service Representative
In addition to marketing your products, you are your business’ sole link to your customers. You will handle customer feedback, act on their complaints, and make sure that their requests are taken care of.
Being a small business owner is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!
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