Report: The perils of a DIY approach to business

Why startups and small businesses shouldn't let admin get in the way of creativity


Whether it’s the HR admin that inevitably comes with a growing team or the essential accounting to manage your money and various filings to HMRC; spending precious hours on business administration is par for the entrepreneurial course. 

And while many entrepeneurs are DIY experts there are real consequences to biting off more than you can chew.  This is why we did this study-to look at the effects of the "do it yourself" approach to company admin and find out how it impacts a company's time, money, and ability to grow.

Who’s taking a DIY approach?

We asked our sample of business leaders whether they tended to take a “do it yourself” (DIY)
approach to business admin and in what areas. Our results found that the majority of business owners tried to take on admin themselves with company accounts being the part of the business entrepreneurs are most likely to tackle on their own (69%), followed by nearly seven in ten entrepreneurs taking a DIY approach to finances. Dealing with legal issues was the area where business leaders were most likely to recede control, however 53% still felt confident enough to try their hand at completing legal contracts and documents themselves.

How much time are business owners spending on admin?

According to our research, the average business owner spends about half their time on business admin. When you consider all the elements of running and growing a business, to lose 50% of time to admin is astonishingly high.  

Having to divide your thinking between many tasks at once detracts from the brain's ability to think creativily. What many consider multi-tasking is actually just skipping franticallly from task to task in a ineffective way.

How does the DIY approach affect small businesses?

According to psychologist Dr Gary Wood, who worked with Geniac on this study, business owners who spend too much time on a variety of mundane or stressful tasks will ultimately be unable to focus on the more creative challenge of growing their business: 

“Our brains work better when we concentrate on one thing at a time. What
we think of as multi-tasking is actually the brain flitting between tasks very quickly. It’s what we tend to do when we’re stressed and pressed for time and it actually takes up more energy. Spreading yourself too thinly can be a real energy-sapper which can inhibit creativity. Getting bored or distracted by various administrative tasks will rarely be the best environment to think of new products or develop a winning pitch. 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, you could skill-swap with colleagues or get someone else to do them for you. It’s always best to play to your strengths rather than using up energy on the things you’re not so good at."

To read the full report and find out more about the effects of the DIY approach to business click here.


by Katherine Green on September 28, 2016

Topics: small business, admin, report, DIY approach

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