Small businesses are critical to the American economy, generating two-thirds of new private-sector jobs nationwide, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published a report in 2018 stating that in 2016, there were about 9.6 million self-employed workers, and by 2026, there will be a projected 10.3 million.1
If you are an entrepreneur who aspires to business ownership, you may boost your chances for success by obtaining a solid business education and up-to-date skills.
Business Owner Job Description
Business owners or entrepreneurs, plan and organize the day-to-day operations of their business. Many business owners have a well-defined job description, but this can vary widely depending on the industry and size of the organization. While some owners might not have too much weight on their shoulders, the job still demands great amounts of sacrifice and dedication. Some of the main tasks for business owners include defining their business and financial plan, mentoring staff and sharing their brand or service with the public.
What Does a Business Owner Do?
Potential owners must create a business plan that includes a description of the product or service, how to finance the business (loans, investors), deadlines for the business and the overall goal. A business plan is usually the first task when launching a small business, followed by marketing plans, production plans, sales forecasts and budgeting plans. Some business owners create sales plans each month, marketing plans each quarter and overall business plans each year.
Financials are the lifeblood of a business, so owners must be familiar with profit-and-loss statements and other financial reports. Setting a budget and then comparing actual income and expenditures is a vital aspect of the business owner’s duties. Other responsibilities include reviewing sales reports and adjusting sales activities or expenses to better meet budgets.
Hiring and Mentoring
Business owners must be prepared to hire, train and mentor staff. They are required to know the federal and state laws and regulations concerning employees, and to file Social Security and wage reports for each employee. Some business owners hire accountants or human resources consultants to handle these activities. Others personally manage all the accounting, taxes and required reporting duties for their business.
Smart marketing helps a business stand out in a crowded field. Creating advertising campaigns, social media campaigns and face-to-face events are typical activities business owners undertake to deliver their message to the right audience. Marketing activities may also include networking, direct sales and entertaining clients.
Business Owner Responsibilities
While specific activities will vary according to the business’ category, size and industry, daily job duties might include reviewing sales reports and financials and comparing them to goals set out in short- and long-term plans. After some time, owners can then direct activities of sales or production employees to better meet the objectives.
In general, business owners are responsible for the growth, stability, direction and daily operation of the business. Additional job duties for a typical business owner include:
- Meeting with service vendors or product suppliers to facilitate delivery
- Make buying trips to purchase inventory
- Creating sales displays
- Stocking the shelves
For small business owners, job duties are surprisingly as critical. Although they don’t necessarily overwork themselves, they must do everything from sweeping the front sidewalks of their business, to meeting with local officials or dignitaries.
A business owner’s work environment depends on the type of business, industry and product or service. Typical locations include retail storefronts, commercial office space, private offices, production facilities or a home office.
Entrepreneur and Business Owner Skills
In the middle of a busy workday, a business owner might be perceived as a passionate leader ready to take on the most difficult task. But, while passion and drive can be inspiring, a business demands managerial order to succeed in delivering a product or a service. Business owners are most likely to share some of the following knowledge:
- General Management
- Finance and Accounting
- Leadership and Team Building
- Strategic Planning
Education and Training Requirements
Although it’s possible to become a business owner without advanced education or training, enrolling in a degree program can provide individuals with the tools for survival and success in a competitive marketplace. For example, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration Management program typically covers coursework such as principles of management, business ethics, international management, principles of marketing and business plan research.
Students who have earned a BA in Business Administration should be able to:
- Identify problems, make decisions and interpret results based on quantitative techniques
- Develop disciplines of management by planning, strategy, organizing, staffing, leading, control and change
- Improve quality and productivity by streamlining systems and processes
Earning a business degree can help entrepreneurs build a solid foundation of business acumen, technical skills and proven practices that can be applied in daily operations. Additionally, time-management and people skills can be important attributes, along with operational skills such as bookkeeping and marketing.
Setting your Sights on Becoming a Business Owner?
Being a business owner can be a great career move if you are independent, self-motivated and possess excellent interpersonal skills. You’ll also need a strong work ethic and the ability to adapt to a variety of situations. To learn more about developing the mindset of an entrepreneur, read our article here.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Outlook, “Small-business options: Occupational outlook for self-employed workers,” on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2018/article/mobile/self-employment.htm (visited October 2018).
National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Information provided is not intended to represent a complete list of hiring companies or job titles, and program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.