Owners of small businesses have a lot on their plates. In addition to the almost constant headache of raising money and making sure their companies stay afloat financially, there’s the issue of attending to business itself. Even when entrepreneurs who run their own small companies have enough cash on hand to pay all the bills, a hundred and one other pressing chores beg for attention. Someone has to do the budgeting, scheduling, legal work, hiring, and everything else that typically comes under the heading of “day to day operations.” Here’s a quick look at the way owners of small firms face the most common challenges of competing in the modern economy:
Legal % Accounting Issues
About 80 percent of all small businesses hire outsiders to handle major legal and accounting tasks. Start-ups invariably engage a law firm or an individual attorney to do their state filings, licensing, and, if needed, articles of incorporation. But there are ongoing legal needs like liability issues and employee relations that require the attention of trained attorneys. Unless a company is willing to keep a lawyer on staff, the obvious answer is to hire a local law firm that specializes in business issues. The same goes for non-payroll accounting tasks like audits, tax planning, budgeting, accounts receivable and payable, financial compliance and more. By tradition, payroll is usually outsourced separately to firms that do nothing else but that one job. (See below).
In the early, growth days of a small firm, human resource chores can all be done in-house. But once there are enough employees to turn this “chore” into a full-time task, owners need to consider hiring at least two permanent employees to handle the diverse list of tasks that come under the HR heading.
Unless a company has in-house accounting experts who have the time to spend on payroll, it’s wise to outsource. The cost is low and there are many national and international accounting firms that specialize in cranking out payroll data by the hour, day, week, or month. For small businesses, payroll is the most frequently outsourced task.
Organizations with more than 10 non-executive workers need to pay close attention to scheduling. So many companies today have extended hours that two shifts are now the norm. That means multiple groups of people with diverse skills are working from about 8 a.m. each day until around midnight. The logistics and math can be maddening even with a work force of a dozen full-time employees. The go-to solution is choosing a versatile brand of software for creating employees’ schedules. Fortunately, there are many providers and prices range from free to pennies per day. There are even a few very capable scheduling software products offered as freeware.
Too many business owners ignore the issue of data security until it’s too late. The good news is that it doesn’t cost much to hire professions who can spend a few hours assessing a company’s needs and implementing a workable solution that offers a high level of data protection. Some companies have in-house IT people who can do this job but others simply outsource the job to a reputable local tech firm.