How Small Business Owners Want to Spend Their Time

by Deputy Team, 3 minutes read
HOME blog how small business owners want to spend their time

As a small business owner, we’re often required to be the jack of all trades. At the early stages, business owners must be involved in every detail of the company. Yet, even business owners who’ve been in the game for a while find themselves spending more time dealing with the nitty gritty operations than they would like.

To the small business owner who can relate – fear not — you aren’t alone. According to a recent poll, the majority of small business owners spend far too much time working in their business instead of on it.

The Alternative Board recently surveyed more than 300 business owners on how their time is spent. The results weren’t too surprising: Roughly 68 percent of time was spent operating the business (dealing with day-to-day-tasks, putting out fires, etc.). Yet only 32 percent of time was spent working on growing the business, developing long-term goals and otherwise making the company more profitable. Why such a low percentage? The answer lies in iIneffective time management and strategies.

A Look at the Numbers

About 63 percent of business owners who took the survey said they worked at least 50 hours a week, spending most of that time answering emails, dealing with customers and managing employee issues. Nearly three quarters of those surveyed said they would much rather spend time working on strategic business activities, such as setting long-term goals and most would prefer to work less than 42 hours a week.

So why aren’t they? As it stands, 40 percent of business owners say they have an ineffective annual operating plan and budget — if they have one at all.

That’s because business owners are constantly dealing with “urgent matters.” Whether it’s filling a sudden gap in scheduling, dealing with an unruly customer, fixing mistakes in payroll, business owners spend over a third of their time on activities that are both urgent and of immediate importance. This, coupled with unscheduled communications, personality issues, waiting for information or dealing with administrative tasks in general, are key reasons why business owners spend too much time working in their business instead of on their business.

How They Want to Improve

Business owners believe they spend way too much time operating their company – and they do! Those surveyed said they would be much more productive if they:

  • Had fewer distractions
  • Established daily, weekly and/or monthly deadlines and tasks
  • Created and implemented a formal strategic plan

Respondents also highlighted ways to improve their business and spend their time wisely. Here are some of the top answers:

  1. Spend more time on actual urgent tasks
  2. Measure employee success based on real results
  3. Delegate administrative tasks
  4. Spend more time improving personal skills as a business owner

Armed with more free time, owners said they would spend it on marketing, strategic planning, product development and developing strategic partnerships. Doing so, they said, would create new opportunities, grow revenue and achieve a better balance of work and personal life.

A Better Way to Operate

One of the easiest ways for business owners to free up time and be more productive is to streamline tasks like scheduling and payroll. With Deputy’s employee scheduling software, users can create a schedule in minutes, communicate quickly with all employees, delegate tasks in an instant and hand off the task of  payroll to the professional.With Deputy, business owners devote more of their time to doing what they love: growing their business and turning a greater profit.

Visit or contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.