December 5, 2022

Small Business Advice

Administration (yuck)

Jerry Osteryoung | 12/10/2007

One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.
— Arnold Glasgow

Administration of a business is one of those things that every entrepreneur must deal with over and over. Keeping books, maintaining proper documentation, paying bills and taxes, selecting vendors and finding insurance carriers are just a few of these tasks. While many entrepreneurs wish they did not have to deal with them, administrative tasks cannot be avoided. Despite the fact that administration is neither a fun nor a necessarily high-payoff activity, it is critical to the success of any business.

When running a business, the devil is in the details. Therefore, administration is just one of those things that cannot be avoided. You just cannot make intelligent decisions about important parts of your business without a clear understanding of their ramifications. In many cases, however, entrepreneurs feel as if it is more important that they be out selling or doing something that is more productive. They do not want to “waste” time on these administrative functions.

As a result, I have frequently seen entrepreneurs relegating very important decisions to very low skill-level employees. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed the tragic errors of doing so. These errors have included failing to arrange the proper insurance for company vehicles and skipping an employee’s background check with dire consequences.

These administrative functions are both important and frequently urgent. Sure, ask an employee to do some of the background work, but the ultimate decision must be yours. While you rarely see a positive return on making a correct decision, the costs of making an incorrect decision are so very high. It is just too dangerous to trust these types of decisions to workers without the appropriate background.

Most successful entrepreneurs spend 20 to 25% of their time on administration. For small and start-up businesses, administration can seem even more time consuming. However, it is just the cost of doing business, and over time, it will get better.

Entrepreneurs who simply cannot devote the necessary time to administrative functions should either hire outside consultants or enlist people they trust to help make these decisions. One savvy accountant suggested that the administrative tasks be shared by other people in the organization — assuming of course, that there are appropriate checks and balances.

Now go out and build some time into each day to focus on the administrative element of your business. These functions are absolutely critical to the success of your business and are just too important not to warrant adequate amounts of your time. By devoting the appropriate time and energy to this part of your business, you will allow the business to grow to the next level.

You can do this!

Jerry Osteryoung is the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Florida State University. He is also the Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at FSU and Executive Director of the Jim Moran Institute of Global Entrepreneurship. He can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 850-644-3372.

Tags: Florida Small Business

Florida Business News

Ballot Box

Is it your opinion that the coronavirus pandemic has ended in the United States?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure
  • Need more information
  • Other (Please share your comments in the comment section below)

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701

© Copyright 2022 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.