small business owners

By Rieva Lesonsky

Ask small business owners how they feel about entrepreneurship, and you’ll inevitably hear, “I love it!” But c’mon, admit it: Isn’t there at least one thing you hate about being your own boss? I love 90 percent of it, but I really hate finances (just not my strong suit) and dealing with red tape.

What do other small business owners love and hate about their businesses?  According to the 2015 Infusionsoft Small Business Market Research Sales & Marketing Report, which polled business owners in both B2B and B2C industries, here’s how it shakes out:

  • The most popular task is customer service. Sixty percent of small business owners love it, while just 9 percent hate it.
  • Close behind is product or service development (don’t we all love coming up with new ideas?). Fifty-seven percent love doing this, while just 3 percent hate it, making it the least-hated of any task.
  • Marketing and advertising is also fairly popular (46 percent love it and 14 percent hate it), as is sales (44 percent of small business owners love it and 17 percent hate it).
  • Somewhere in the middle is “managing a website/web content”), which 25 percent love and 22 percent hate.
  • The scales tip, however, at IT/technology activities. More small business owners (34 percent) hate this than love it (27 percent).
  • Even less popular? HR activities—37 percent hate them, and only 11 percent love them.
  • Nearly half (44 percent) hate administrative tasks, while just 18 percent love them.
  • And the winner for least popular business-related activity? (Drum roll, please): A whopping 56 percent of entrepreneurs hate doing financial tasks; only 17 percent love them.

Whether or not your pet peeves fall into one of the common categories, I’m sure there are some duties of your business you really don’t enjoy. Whether you’re not good at them, find them deadly boring or simply would rather spend your time doing other things, how can you get around this problem? Here are a couple solutions small business owners can try:

Delegate. This also solves a couple common challenges small business owners in the survey cited: getting everything done (55 percent struggle with this) and managing everything solo (43 percent). If you’re not good at something, consider outsourcing to an expert or taking on a partner or employee to handle it. If a task isn’t worth your time (say, admin work), outsourcing to virtual employees or independent contractors is a smart move.

How do you know if something’s worth your time or not? Use your pricing structure to figure out the value of an hour of your time. If you’re starting a consulting business and charge $250 an hour for consulting, should you really be spending an hour sorting paperwork or inputting figures? A good rule of thumb is that if you can pay someone to do it for substantially less than your hourly cost, it’s worthwhile. Even if you lose some money doing this in the short run, in the long run you’ll be able to spend more time doing what you do best: grow your business.

Educate. If you hate certain tasks because you’re not very good at them, another option is to learn more about them. SCORE or the nearest Small Business Development Center are excellent resources for free help and education about all aspects of business ownership. (Disclosure: both are clients of my company.) Once you’ve had accounting thoroughly explained to you, who knows? You just might enjoy it after all.