Small Business Owner Concerns
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Regardless of company size, the concerns of executive management are all
essentially the same." - Bryce's Law
I was recently at a gathering of independent consultants from around the
Tampa Bay area and we got around to talking about the concerns of owners of
small businesses. From this, we devised a list of pet peeves commanding the
attention of small-to-medium sized business owners, to wit:
- Employees/Human Resources - staffing and allocations, payroll, benefits,
- Work environment - facilities and equipment, corporate culture.
- Systems - implementing business processes productively, and staying
abreast of technological developments for competitive advantage.
- Regulations - complying with rules as established by government and
- Time Management - scheduling and devoting time to the proper set of
- Financial Resources - managing and planning cash flow and investments for
optimal return on investment.
- General Planning & Strategy - both short term and long term, including an
analysis of the market and competition.
At the end of this session, we discovered that the concerns of small business
owners are essentially no different than large corporations, except on a much
smaller scale. The only difference was that the small business owner has to move
faster than his corporate counterparts simply due to the size of his operation.
For example, he doesn't have time to read voluminous business plans and
financial statements. Instead, he requires summary reports which get to the
point in a couple of pages. He needs good, sound supporting advice to make his
This got me thinking about the amount of time and money corporate executives
invest in managing their company's affairs. True, some things require
considerable time and effort to investigate, such as researching new
products/services and checking market conditions, but most of what is done is
what I refer to as "meatball" type analysis which should be easy and relatively
inexpensive to prepare. Let me give you an example; a couple of years ago I was
working with a Fortune 500 company who had contracted with another firm to
produce a Business Systems Plan. This took several months to perform and
resulted in a substantial document over three feet thick (I kid you not) costing
the company $1.5 million. I was asked to flip through the document and give an
opinion. It only took me a couple of minutes to discover the authors had reused
narrative from other client projects in the document and that most of it was
superfluous. But the fact that it was incredibly thick and printed on some
pretty impressive looking paper, gave the company the feeling they had gotten
their money's worth from the consultants. Interestingly, the company never acted
on the information contained in the document simply because it was so voluminous
and they couldn't find their way through it. In reality, a ten page report could
have satisfied the company's needs, but I guess you cannot charge $1.5 million
for a ten page document can you?
The point of all this is that the size of a company really has no bearing on
the concerns of those charged with running it. They are all essentially the
same. Nor does any business owner have the time or inclination to be devoured by
detail. Although detail is important to substantiate claims, summary reports are
more effective for supporting the needs of business owners. They simply want
accurate and reliable information to act on regardless of the form it takes, but
preferably not three feet thick.
If you would like to discuss this further with me, please do not hesitate to
send me an e-mail at
About the Author
Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located in Palm Harbor,
Florida. You can find his work on the Internet at:
He can be contacted at:
Copyright © 2007 Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-01-07 19:33:41 in Business Articles