Business suffers as busy owners try to do it all

Business owners are so busy handling a wide range of administrative tasks that they are not spending enough time on growing their business according to new research.

A poll of business owners by Geniac found that 73% believe that their business would grow more quickly if less of their time was taken up with company admin. And 61% of SME owners say they spend up to half of their time dealing with legal issues, managing HR, handling business accounts and other company paperwork.

As a result, many areas of business development are being overlooked, including brainstorming new ideas (neglected by 33% of the respondents), working on new business proposals, products and services (28%) and spending time with their customers (27%).

The authors of the report have concluded that small business owners are sacrificing creativity in their business by taking a "do-it-yourself" approach to administration.

Psychologist Dr Gary Wood, who worked with Geniac on the study, says business owners need to de-clutter their work schedules in order to make the most of their time.

Dr Wood said: "What we think of as multi-tasking is actually the brain flitting between tasks very quickly. It's difficult for your brain to switch into creative mode when you're worrying about balancing the next spreadsheet or a looming contract deadline. So, instead of trying to be an all-rounder, play to your strengths rather than using up energy on the things you're not so good at."

The report also shows that 15% of business owners dread admin tasks and 11% feel out of their depth. Even so, many are still reluctant to bring in external help. Half of business owners polled say external experts are "too expensive". However, 32% of business owners said they had ended up paying an external expert to fix an error they'd made when taking on tasks they weren't qualified to do.

Mike Galvin, co-founder of Geniac, said: "What seems like a cost-cutting exercise on paper can quickly become an expensive mistake - not just in terms of rectifying errors down the line but also in terms of lost creativity. A business owner should be doing what they do best, solving core business issues and not being distracted by admin overload."

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