A Day in the Life of a Small Business Owner
Starting a small business is super exciting, incredibly rewarding, and a challenge worth taking on. As your own boss, you’ll have a chance to set the pace for your business and make all the decisions. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
There are certain tasks you’ll have to perform on a regular basis (probably daily) to make sure the business runs smoothly. These tasks are the backbone of any business, regardless of size or profit margins. Today, we’re going to look at a typical day in the life of a small business owner.
If you have employees who work for you—even if they’re just volunteers—you need to complete some basic human resources tasks to ensure you stay on top of things.
Interviewing candidates, scheduling employees, providing feedback on employees’ work, doing payroll, etc. are all tasks that will need to be completed regularly.
Especially when you’re just starting a small business, odds are you’ll have to do a little bit of everything. That includes answering the phones and communicating with customers and inquirers by email and on social media.
Ideally, during business hours you’re available to answer that phone when it rings. If messages are left outside of business hours, then you’ll want to return those calls first thing the next morning.
Same goes with emails. Try to answer emails within about an hour or two of receiving them (the quicker, the better)… and try to respond to all emails first thing in the morning before moving on to other jobs.
Finances & Accounting
As the business owner, it’s your job to deal with all of your business’s finances. This includes cash flow, setting up a line of credit, ensuring clients are paid up, submitting documentation for taxes on time, and so on. Sound like a lot of work? Likely an accountant is one of the first people you’ll want to consult when starting a business.
Purchasing & Ordering fall under your domain as well. This might not necessarily be a daily task… but at the very least it’s a weekly one. Do you have enough supplies to get your company through upcoming projects? Is there anything you’re going to need in the next month or two?
Thinking further ahead, are there any upcoming events or expected spikes in business that you need to prepare for now? This is often the case with retail businesses (they’ll start ordering Christmas inventory in July!) and it could be true for your business as well.
We’ve talked a lot about a small business owner’s marketing responsibilities on this blog, but I’m quickly going to mention it again. Marketing is an ongoing mission and one that shouldn’t be ignored. At the very least, your daily marketing tasks should be posting to social media and writing for your blog. About once a week, you’ll want to either work on your newsletter(s), or your website, or your search engine optimization.
I’m going to lump networking into this category as well. For many small businesses, some of the best marketing is still word of mouth. Are you keeping in touch with your past clients? What about vendors you’ve worked with in the past (and enjoyed it)? All these little things need to be done!
Maintenance & Upkeep
If you have a home office, maintenance can be anything from cleaning your desk(s) to changing a burnt lightbulb to vacuuming your workspace or washing the windows.
If you’re renting a commercial space or office, you might be lucky enough to have a cleaning staff provided by the landlord. These are the people who will take care of vacuuming and making sure the bathrooms are clean. If you don’t have that luxury, then guess who that job falls onto? That’s right! But even if there is a cleaning crew at your office, you’ll still want to take on the job of spot-dusting furniture, cleaning the kitchen area (if you have one), etc.
Note: Especially if you’ll be meeting with clients at your office, don’t skimp on the maintenance of your space. I can’t tell you how much a messy or dirty office truly turns off potential clients. Let’s keep it clean!
Let’s not forget the reason why you own this business!
I know this seems like a lot. But with proper planning, these tasks shouldn’t take more than an hour or two a day, leaving the rest of the day wide open for your real, actual, work. The key is not to let any one of these build up by ignoring it. So when you’re just launching your business, set yourself a schedule of daily tasks and follow it! You’d be surprised how much this simple method helps. And hey, if things get a little out of control, check out this guide to stress management!