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Which roles & responsibilities are required to be able to run a small business? ?

Note: this is part of our Professionals series, where volunteers share questions they wish they saw on the platform.

Thank you comment icon A good overview of this is covered in Dave Ramsey's book Entreleadership. Katherine Avery

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Marshall’s Answer

Greetings

This is a good question, and the answer is there is a lot of things to learn, but good news is you can learn them.

If you are interested in starting a business, I would take some classes/ courses on "Starting a business" and read some books. articles related to things in your local state/ country of choice for operation.

Every state/ city will also have specific rules you will need to be aware of, the business councils will have information (and often classes/ meetings) where you can go and ask questions.

Every business is made up of some core components:

Financial
Marketing
Production/ OPS
Sales/Support

Those areas will expand depending on the specific needs (i.e. tools to make things, delivery trucks, development teams etc.)

You will want to know what your product is, where it fits in the ecosystem of where you will be selling it, who your competitors are and what they do that you cant or dont, you will want to know your customer base (is this something they will buy).

You will also need to understand how money works, paying taxes, investment strategies, managing cash, dept and other things like purchasing.

You will also need to know who you need to hire/ what skills are needed to accomplish your goals. You need to understand what parts materials you need to deliver your product and where to source them.

There also may be thing like international laws and trade that you will need to know. You will want to have legal support to deal with issues that arise (such as clients that don't want to may, contract negotiations, other legal concerns, laws and requirements met/ reviewed etc)

The good news is you don't have to do this alone. Getting partners and or investors will help take some of the weight off your shoulders. As will hiring staff that specialize in these things (like marketing, finance or operations/OPS)

As a freelancer, I have had to make myself the business, which means I had to register as an Scorp/LLC and file all the appropriate paperwork with state and federal institutions. I had to market myself, manage my equipment and employees. I had to track all the money, payments, receipts, etc by keeping books. I had a law firm that I worked with and made sure to be aware of changes in things around me that affected my industry and therefore my business.

The best thing you can do is go to your local library and ask them about book "starting a business". There will also be some resources online, google "starting a business in [your state]". Your Town hall will have information on the government offices to contact to get more detailed information and can also maybe point you to some informative classes or seminars. There are services out there that you can pay to help set things up too if you are getting to that point. There will be no shortage of people you can hire to do the work for you, but if you want to save some moeny and gain the experiences of doing it yourself, reading will be the first step.
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David’s Answer

Marshall has truly given some outstanding responses. As he rightly pointed out, the nature of the business and the services or products it provides shapes the roles and tasks necessary to get the business up and running.

In my journey, I spent numerous years as a manufacturing engineer and product designer before venturing into my own business. The knowledge I gained during this time is reflected in all my product designs. I believe this is a common thread among many entrepreneurs who have leveraged their prior experience before taking the bold step of starting their own business. Some are content with maintaining a small-scale business, shouldering most of the responsibilities themselves. Others, however, seek assistance to fuel rapid expansion, often outsourcing tasks temporarily.

Indeed, starting a business almost always demands thorough research. For residents of San Diego County, there's a supportive organization called "SCORE" that can provide assistance.
https://www.score.org/sandiego
If there's a similar organization in your locality, I would highly recommend exploring it.
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