What Are The Responsibilities Of A Small Business Owner

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Small Business Owner

What are the responsibilities of a small business owner?


A small business’s lack of resources, as compared to its larger counterpart, affects not only the employees but also the owner. As an entrepreneur, you have to learn to be a jack of all trades and perform multiple tasks as your business grows.

In most cases, small business owners have to lead by example, partially because it works and partially because they have no other option. In this article, we look at some of the important responsibilities of a small business owner.

1. Financial Management

Most small businesses often do not have a ‘finance department’. There may be one additional finance expert on board, but a big chunk of the responsibility rests with the owner.

A small business owner needs to know where to invest their company’s capital and need to balance out the smart and ideal to keep the engine running as the business grows on the side.

2. Human Resources

When it comes to a small business, HR is the responsibility of everyone in an organization. Not literally. But, to have a healthy work culture, everyone should feel responsible for making the workplace inclusive and safe. 

However, that starts with the small business owner. The owner should listen to complaints and queries, be unbiased, and work towards creating progressive and inclusive policies for employees. 

Even hiring staff is one of the major responsibilities of a small business owner. No one knows the requirements of the business and its culture better than the entrepreneur. Therefore, they need to be actively involved in hiring and deciding who comes in.

3. Plans & Presentation Decks

Depending on the type of business, a company either needs decks to present to clients (B2B) and/or needs business plans to attract investors and foster growth. Till the staff size increases, these are one of the responsibilities of a small business owner. 

Even if you yourself don’t make them, the decks/ plans should run directly by you so that you can have a final call in the matter. 

In a small business, every small decision matters a lot. Everything is magnified. Therefore, as the big kahuna, you have to take the final call, since this business is your vision and your baby.


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4. Business Loans

Here again, what industry you’re in matters. Most small businesses start out as sole proprietorships. This has its advantages and drawbacks. One property of operating such as a business is that it is not a separate entity from the small business owner.

Therefore, most loans have to be taken on directly by you and you are liable for paying it back and using the loan funds responsibly to foster business growth.

5. Client Communications (B2B)

One of the many responsibilities of a small business owner is to handle client communications/ servicing. However, the additional person of authority that the client may want to talk to is more often than not, you. 

There aren’t too many middle managers in a small business if any. Often, it’s you who has to communicate with clients and discuss deliverables, results, and next steps, or at least be a major part of the discussions.

There is a great story about how Underarmour founder, Kevin Plank, carried two business cards with him at all times when the business was still small. One read ‘president’, while the other read ‘sales manager’. 

While that is the most literal example of being the core communications person with the client, most small business owners do have to switch hats to make the deals happen.

6. Customer Communications (B2C)

In most mom and pop stores, small business owners are the only point of communication with the customer. However, even in small businesses with some staff, there isn’t a ‘talk to your manager’ person. That’s usually just you. 

Whether you’re into retail or handling large customers with a wholesale business, you end up doing a chunk of the communication with the final customers. 

At the same time, this is also how small businesses grow. Seeing the owner talk to customers can incite loyalty amongst other customers – your business will have a personal touch that large corporations cannot simply afford.


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7. Organizational Structure And Administration

There most likely isn’t a COO/ strategy person in a business that’s still in its nascent stage. As an owner, you are like a leader of high functioning teams. Therefore it is up to them to organize and divide tasks, roles, and responsibilities. 

In large organizations, a lot of employees handle work in their departments. Conflict can arise when a task falls into an area that may be considered part of multiple departments. 

In small businesses, it’s the opposite, but confusion can still be prevalent without the voice of the organization. When a small team is handling multiple tasks, the question of who’s handling what arises when a new task comes on board.

Therefore, it is one of the responsibilities of a small business owner to ensure that such confusion happens as infrequently as possible.

8. Marketing & Promotional Work

Oftentimes, small businesses make their own promotional work. The resident graphic genius often designs a poster; the person with a casual knowledge of website builders makes the site. Small businesses have experienced it all. 

However, even such businesses work with external agencies during periods of growth. Marketing and promotions have reached new highs, offline, and on the Internet. Therefore, many times an expert is needed on board. 

And the person to talk to the expert? You.

9. Vendor Accounts

Various small businesses cannot afford multiple vendors’ accounts for the services they use. Many small agency businesses, which often consist of not more than 10 people take turns using a common account for music, graphics, etc.

It’s usually you who end up deciding on and purchasing such accounts.

Internal or external, when marketing is in the picture, you always have the final say.

10. Legal Matters

Small businesses or large ones – the head of the company usually ends up handling the major legal decisions and battles. 

The film The Social Network depicts Mark Zuckerberg being sued on a personal basis. However, Facebook is the reason why that legal battle happened. 

Similarly, small business owners, especially owners of sole proprietorships are strongly attached to the company’s legal matters. You often deal with the legal team or an external advisory on their own. 

Every action the company takes that may have legal implications needs to go through you. This ensures that they’re in the loop about anything that needs checking and advising.


A small business owner has to play the jack of all trades role. From purchasing accounts for the team to use, to personally dealing with legal matters- all of these are the responsibilities of a small business owner. 

As the business grows, your responsibilities change. You sow the seed for a potentially strong and dependable tree of a company. With all the responsibilities in hand, it may seem like a tough job to be a small business owner. 

And it is. It’s part and parcel of the role, but the rewards are worth the work. 

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