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SME Owners – Which Hat are you Wearing?

As a small business owner you probably find that you’re taking care of a lot of tasks that you have little experience of and no training for.  It’s often the case that SME owners don’t have the luxury of hiring trained and experienced staff to perform all the different jobs that keep a business running smoothly and often find themselves having to carry out a diverse range of tasks such as creating a computer network, setting up a filing system, planning a marketing strategy, taking care of the payroll, etc.  While you may be an expert at making a product or providing a service, chances are that running your business brings a whole range of other responsibilities.

Business Planning – as the business owner, it’s your responsibility to prepare a business plan for your company.  You can use market research to identify trends and potential markets for your products/services.  Introducing a new product or expanding into other markets will be your decision to take.

Human Resources – small business owners often need to hire employees.  As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to consider whether the business can support a new hire and, if it can, you’ll need to conduct the interview  which means asking key questions but avoiding illegal or ill-advised questions.  As the business owner, you’ll also need to decide on benefits for employees, provide benefit information and the relevant forms.  You’ll need to be able to deal with employee questions and complaints and may have to fire employees from time to time.

Marketing – as a business owner you’ll need to plan and implement marketing strategies using effective marketing methods for the type of business you have.  Some companies may find it better to rely on pring marketing materianls such as catalogues, brochures and booklets.  Other companies advertise in magazines, some businesses will benefit from hiring a booth at trade fairs and events.  As a business owner, you may find that nentworking is the most effective marketing method or you may join a business group.

Technology Expert – few businesses survive nowadays without technology.  As a small business owner, you’ll need to make sure you keep up to date with innovative products on the market in order to remain competitive.  You’ll need to know how to operate your computers and how to use any business software to keep track of orders and invoices.  You should know how to load new software and install upgrades to keep things running smoothly at all times.  You may find that you have to network multiple computers and link them to a single printer. 

Customer Service – unless your business is large enough to employ customer service representatives, the responsibility of dealing with customers will be on you.  You’ll need to handle requests and complaints effectively.  Customer service also involves a certain amount of trouble shooting, depending on the type of products/services you offer.