Are You Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer?

Date posted: July 10, 2012

By Rieva Lesonsky

It’s no surprise that as a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats at your company. But just how many hats does the average entrepreneur don and doff in the course of a day? A survey from business insurance company Hiscox found most entrepreneurs do 10 things in addition to their duties as CEO:

  • Ordering supplies: 83%
  • Filing: 80%
  • Paying invoices: 76%
  • Preparing invoices: 74%
  • Printing/ binding documents: 72%
  • Opening the business in the morning: 64%
  • Closing up at night: 61%
  • Cleaning the office space: 63%
  • Reception duties: 50%
  • Customer deliveries: 54%

But are you being penny-wise and pound-foolish when you try to do it all yourself? Hiscox found that although 64 percent of small business owners agree legal issues should be handled by professionals, just 26 percent actually use legal and/or accounting help. Overall, entrepreneurs in the survey admitted they lacked key knowledge in areas including legal (56 percent), taxes (36 percent), IT (34 percent) and insurance (31 percent). But only 8 percent employ a full-time accountant.

More than three-fourths of small business owners say that either their skills gap is not a threat or that they are able to plug the gap with professional expertise when needed. But although entrepreneurs in the survey say their passion for the business enables them to “do it all,” are they fooling themselves?

Trying to handle all facets of your business yourself can put your company at risk—especially when it comes to legal, tax or insurance matters. If you can’t afford to hire a full-time employee to deal with issues like accounting, and you’re not good at it yourself, at least consider bringing in a part-time bookkeeper or meeting with an accountant once a quarter. Don’t let your passion for your business blind you to the reality that sometimes, you might need outside help.


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