Top Small-Business Owner Responsibilities to Ensure a Responsible Business

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Two business owners cheerfully high five after opening restaurant

It’s not unusual for professionals with an entrepreneurial spirit to consider starting a business. Building a successful organization from the ground up takes planning, resources, startup capital and the ability to work under uncertain conditions.

One of an entrepreneur’s initial business owner responsibilities is forming a plan for stability. This means creating a map for strategic planning, ensuring company policies are legally compliant and deciding how marketing and sales will be handled.

Getting Started

After an aspiring entrepreneur has determined the product or service and the target customers, drawn up a business plan and secured startup capital, the next step is choosing the business structure. For example, will the company be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation?

Why Determining Company Structure Is Important

The structure of a business determines how its taxes will be assessed, what type of information needs to be filed with state and local governments, and the extent of the business owner’s personal liability. In addition, the owner must define the business structure before he or she can apply for state and federal tax ID numbers, business licenses and permits.

The U.S. Small Business Administration website provides an in-depth breakdown of the pros and cons associated with each type of business structure, along with the steps to set up a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation. Once the owner has chosen the structure of the business, he or she must register the business name with state and local governments.

Choosing a business name is important for myriad reasons. In addition to being used throughout the formation of legal documents and to open bank accounts, this name will be printed on advertising and marketing materials and used to determine the company’s domain name. The business owner should choose a name that reflects the business and ensure it isn’t already in use by another entity.

Although some states allow businesses to register online, others require paper documents to be delivered in person or by mail. Depending on where a business is located, it may need to be registered with the secretary of state’s office.

Defining Company Identity

After completing the paperwork to legally establish the company’s structure, the business owner’s next responsibility involves building a team and establishing the company culture, or “personality.” A company’s culture comprises a number of components: mission, goals, work environment and how employees work with one another. Having a clear idea of the company culture also helps the owner solidify the organization’s vision and values, along with the types of employees who can best help the business reach its goals.

Choosing Marketing, Sales and Customer Service Models

Determining how marketing and sales will be handled plays a crucial role in a business’s growth. For example, business owners need to decide if marketing will be carried out in-house or outsourced to an agency. They must decide how to set monthly and quarterly budgets and make spending decisions about print, digital and social media marketing.

Owners also need to decide if they want their sales teams to work only on site or if they’ll need to allocate time to in-person cold calls. Different models aren’t always transferable between industries, which means owners and managers need to know how to approach their target clients.

Establishing customer service protocols is another important step. Business owners need to determine how to funnel customer questions and concerns — through social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, via email or through a web portal, for example. They should establish timelines for responding to customer complaints, as well as set up resolution models, such as whether clients will receive refunds, credits or discounts on future orders.

Skills Business Owners Need to Be Successful

Transforming a startup into a successful enterprise requires business acumen. Consequently, there are a number of essential skills that entrepreneurs need to possess to be successful.

Leadership Skills

Successful business owners know how to motivate their teams. Leadership skills are essential for taking charge and forging relationships with employees, suppliers, investors and customers. Examples of strong leadership capabilities include promoting productivity, maintaining employee morale and understanding how to task team members with jobs that align with their talents.

Analytical Skills

Entrepreneurs should know how to gather and evaluate data to facilitate decision-making. Strong analytical skills are also needed to assess industry trends and determine which strategies will help the organization reach target growth objectives.

Managerial Skills

Strong management skills help business owners effectively delegate tasks to staff members, such as assigning groups or departments projects that, once complete, will help further the company’s objectives.

Communication Skills

Business owners who possess effective communication skills understand how to build and foster working relationships with their staff, vendors and clients. They’re able to express ideas and goals clearly. In addition to being good for morale, strong communication skills can improve efficiency.

Financial Management Skills

Business owner responsibilities are numerous, and successful entrepreneurs understand how to set and adhere to budgets, manage money and evaluate profit and loss statements. They need to be mindful of return-on-investment models, how and where money is spent and whether budget dollars are improving profitability.

How to Cultivate These Core Competencies

Professionals interested in pursuing a startup venture are likely to find that a Master of Business Administration program can provide them with the tools to succeed.

The online MBA program at Rider University has been designed to help professionals prepare themselves for the next steps in their careers. In addition to helping students develop a broader understanding of business operations, the coursework aims to help students grow their communication, team building and leadership skills.

The path toward entrepreneurship starts today. Discover how the online MBA program at Rider University can equip you to be successful.

Recommended Reading

How to Hire Employees You Can Trust

Growing for the Future: Using Social Media for Marketing Your Business

Advanced Degrees in Business: Is an MBA Worth It?

Sources:, “12 Business Skills You Need To Master”

Chicago Tribune, “Small Business Roles and Responsibility Require Clarity, Documentation”Entrepreneur, “The 17 Skills Required To Succeed as an Entrepreneur”

Entrepreneur, “The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business”

Forbes, “When Does an Entrepreneur Become a Business Owner?”

Houston Chronicle, “The Importance of a Business Name”

Houston Chronicle, “Tasks & Responsibilities of a Small Business Owner”

Houston Chronicle, “What Skills Are Needed To Start a Business?”

Investopedia, “Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Defined”Queensland Government, Communicating Effectively for Business

Rider University, Master of Business Administration

U.S. Small Business Administration, 10 Steps To Start Your Business