The five 'hats' every small business owner wears – and ten tips to manage them all | The Sun

Four in 10 business owners and decision makers have taken on other roles within the workplace after letting staff go because of the cost-of-living crisis.

A study of 500 small business owners and decision makers estimate they have to wear five different ‘hats’ every single day – including running finances, sales and marketing.

Others have been involved in admin (32%), advertising (31%) and HR (27%).

But 61% admitted they still get confused about how to do things on a day-to-day basis.

Areas decision makers have struggled with included cleaning (15%), operations (14%) and events (14%).

It also emerged the most common concerns among management included managing business expenses (26%), staff pensions (25%) and ensuring wages are fair (23%).

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Tax declarations, maternity and paternity schemes and health and safety reports also cause headaches for those trying to run a business.

Sharon Ellis, from Virgin Money, which commissioned the study to launch the new Marketplace tool, said: “Running a business isn’t as straight forward as people might think.

“There are so many areas to a business from finance and accounts to HR and marketing and sales – the list goes on.

“It’s impossible to be equally skilled in all areas, but the results show many decision makers high up at businesses and even owners have dabbled in all areas to keep things going.

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“We know that small business owners are time poor and are looking for new ways to navigate the changing world around them, that’s why we launched Marketplace.

“We’re on a mission to make business owners’ lives a bit easier across a range of areas, from tax returns to invoicing and HR admin to insurance.”

The study also found further reasons for owners and bosses taking on other roles included staff being on furlough (36%), sick leave (36%) or maternity (35%).

But 62% believe it’s impossible to be skilled in all areas of the business, while 38% admitted they have made a significant mistake due to not being confident in a specific skill.

And while 52% do not have a personal assistant, in an ideal world a PA would manage meetings (40%), general admin (37%) and inboxes (37%).

However, some have hired external help to assist with technical issues (39%), setting up salary systems (37%) and tax declaration (33%).

It also found 23% admitted the day to day running of a business is harder than they initially expected, leaving them feeling stressed (29%), tired (28%) and confused (27%).

A further 28% have also felt overworked, with those polled, via OnePoll, typically working outside of their contracted hours four days a week.

And 45% do so on weekends to get everything done.

Gone are the days of nine to five though as the typical owner or decision maker starts work at 7:32am and finishes at 5:57pm.

If they were to have more spare time off work 28% would spend it with family, while 24% would enjoy socialising.

Virgin Money worked with TV presenter and finance expert James Max to offer tips on how to balance and manage workloads.

Top tips for managing workloads and starting out in business

Do it now

Don't put off what you can get done now until later.

Write a list

Regularly update it and keep the most important things at the top.

Do it well, do it once

Sloppy work only leads to things needing to be done again. And it leaves a terrible impression.

Attention to detail

How irritating is it to have something incorrectly addressed to you? Exactly. So it's the small details that make the biggest impression.

Do be enthusiastic about what you do

But remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint. Don't pile so much pressure on early success forgetting that a new business takes time to build.

Don't get despondent

If you've started up a new business, you'd hope it's the best thing ever, but it may take a while to convince others.

Set achievable goals and targets. It's better to smash through them rather than always miss.

Similarly, don't set your targets too low. Good business doesn't tread water.

Think about your messaging

Flashy and expensive adverts are for big and established brands. You can still be clever and targeted by using social and digital media.

And a clear selling point, well executed and you'll find an audience. Never forget, your best audience is your existing audience.

Thank you

It's amazing how far a heartfelt thanks to your team and people you work with will go.

Especially if you notice what they've actually done and why it made a difference.

Fixing problems

Everyone knows that things go wrong. It's how you fix the problem that will define you and your business.

Never underestimate the value of a referral from someone who's impressed.

And never underestimate the damage from an unhappy customer or client too.

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