Survey Finds “Improving Productivity” to Be Top Challenge for Business Owners

Being an entrepreneur means overcoming several obstacles and finding solutions to difficult problems. With that in mind, what specific issues are U.S. small business owners most anticipating on the horizon?

A survey by professional employer organization (PEO) Oasis asked more 300 small business owners (with more than 10 employees but fewer than 100) about what challenges they expect to encounter in the next six to 12 months. Coming in first was “improving productivity and efficiency,” which more than half of respondents reported was a problem for them. Given the low unemployment rate, it’s not shocking that “attracting quality employees to join the business” was found to be the second most anticipated challenge for business owners. While 41% of respondents noted hiring as a potential problem, one-third also anticipated challenges with getting employees to contribute at a higher level as well as “keeping employees focused on what’s most important for business.”

When asked if they’d consider utilizing outside resources to help overcome such challenges, entrepreneur responses varied by activity. For example 49% said they might seek help for attracting quality employees while only 27% would consider assistance with employee retention and engagement. Also notable is that, while productivity and efficiency were the top concerns for respondents, just over one-third were interested in support from external resources.

As a provider of outsourced human resources solutions, Oasis also asked business owners about the time they spend on such administrative tasks as managing payroll, adhering to employment regulations, exploring health care plans, and more. According to their findings, 31% of respondents said upwards of a quarter of their work time was spent on these tasks. Similarly 39% reported spending too much time on workforce-related issues. Nevertheless 83% of those surveyed said that time spent on human resource tasks was well invested.

Commenting on the company’s survey results and the HR needs of small businesses, Oasis’s central region PEO director Melissa Ness said, “Being in charge of a small business comes with time-consuming people management and HR administration that can drain productivity… These tasks can be a distraction from the work that needs to get done in acquiring customers and growing the business.” Ness went on to highlight Oasis’s services, saying, “Working with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), like Oasis, can help make a significant difference in your company’s performance so the leaders and managers of your business can focus on growth.”

Obviously all of the concerns referenced in Oasis’s study are legitimate issues that will challenge many small business owners in the coming year and beyond. However, with the potential threat of recession ahead, this is far from an extensive list of problems entrepreneurs should anticipate. Regardless the survey does bring up an important point in that it is sometimes worth it for business owners to outsource tasks that aren’t their expertise or that are taking up too much of their time, allowing them to focus their energy elsewhere. This plan might not be the right choice for everyone but, for some, it can help ease some of the burden that comes with being an entrepreneur.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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