What’s Your Biggest Small Business Challenge?

On any given day, what’s the biggest challenge you face? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the answer is simple: getting it all done. No wonder, then, that 38 percent of small business owners in the eVoice Technology and Your Business Survey say their time was the most valuable asset their businesses had. (“Time” narrowly edges out “computer,” cited by 36 percent as their most valuable asset).

money where mouth is

The survey also asked entrepreneurs to name the most difficult part of being a small business owner. “Covering multiple jobs” (sales, shipping, receptionist, customer service, business development, etc.) is the top answer, cited by 53 percent of entrepreneurs. With this many roles to fill, it’s no wonder that 50 percent say that “not enough time to get everything done” is their number-two challenge.

Rounding out the top five challenges: “making a profit” (35 percent), 22 percent say its “staying ahead of the competition,” and 12 percent struggle with “managing employees.”

When asked how many roles they fill in a given day, the most common answer is “3 or 4” followed closely by “5 or 6.” Out of all those roles, which do entrepreneurs enjoy the least? No surprise to me that “accountant” leads the pack at 41 percent. We don’t much like being salespeople, (23 percent), and we aren’t crazy about the office manager/receptionist role (22 percent) either. Least disliked was marketing (12 percent)—maybe because these days, social media makes marketing kind of fun.

I’m surprised that being your own IT person didn’t make the list of least-liked roles. For me, staying on top of IT issues with no in-house help has been the biggest change from being a corporate employee to an entrepreneur.

Seems I’m not alone: “Keep up with technology changes” (30 percent) was the most challenging IT issue facing small business owners in the survey, ahead of “no IT support” (16 percent) and “being more mobile” (15 percent).

With so many things to do and so little time to do them, it’s hardly surprising that entrepreneurs would pay money to squeeze just one more hour into the day. Asked how much they’d pay for an extra, productive hour, 25 percent say they’d give more than $500, 24 percent would give $200 and 30 percent would pay $100.

Of course, this isn’t just a hypothetical when it comes to our businesses. How many times have you found yourself struggling to complete some task that’s not really in your wheelhouse (wrangling a printer, trying to do your own SEO, calculating your taxes…I could go on) because “it’s easier to do it myself?”

But is it really? How much would it cost you to hire someone to handle what you hate? How much time would you gain—and what could you spend it on? With 79 percent of us saying we’d willingly pay to gain some time for our business, are we putting our money where our mouths are?

What would you do with an extra hour in the day?

Money Where Your Mouth Is Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.