Business Owner Job Description: 5 Reasons You Need One

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.

As a business owner, you’re the boss. You’re the person people turn to when a question needs answered. You’re a counselor. You’re a mentor. You see the “big picture.” But while you’re busy wearing all of those different hats, have you ever paused to think about what duties really fall within your business owner job description? Do you even have a job description?

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “Why do I need a job description if I’m the owner?”

business owner job description

The truth of the matter is: Having a business owner job description is just as important for you as a job description is for anyone you hire. This description helps define what your job is…and what it’s not. It outlines your duties and responsibilities. It helps keep you focused and efficient—and it keeps you accountable. We’ve also mentioned before that it’s not whatever no one else wants to do.

Where do I start?

If you attended the 2013 Chik-fil-a Leadercast, you may have heard North Point Community Church Senior Pastor Andy Stanley talk about how important a job description is—even for him, as the leader of a large church. Stanley said, “Your job description should define three things: 1) What am I doing? 2) Why am I doing it? And 3) Where do I fit in?”

The What, Why, and Where are your starting points. From there, we’ve come up with five more specific reasons you should have a business owner job description—not just a title.

1. To Establish Boundaries

As the leader, it’s important to know where your role begins and ends. As much as you’d like to do it all, you’ve probably hired an excellent team to support your efforts—and they need to be able to do the work you’ve hired them to do.

Example: If you have a Communications Manager but are still writing all of the newsletters, are handling interviews, and are coordinating press conferences, you may have forgotten your boundaries. Let go of the duties you’ve hired staff to handle—they’ve got it covered.

Try This:

  • Make sure your job description defines your specific duties
  • Look for areas of duplication where you can let go of unnecessary overlap
  • Conduct a survey of employees asking where they’d like to see more control within their roles (this will help identify places you might be overstepping your job boundaries)

2. To Claim the Oversight Role

Your team needs you to be the visionary—the one who comes up with the business strategy, maintains the company culture and brand, and looks at issues from a macro standpoint. So often when that role isn’t claimed by the business owner, it gets pieced out to employees who claim it as their own.

Example: Each day, you seem to find yourself caught in the details of daily work rather than coming up with new ideas that will help the business move forward. You’ve noticed your Finance Director has started to become the one your Board members turn to in meetings when they have questions. It looks like your role as Overseer is slipping away!

Try this:

  • Delegate your detail work to relevant staff members
  • Define your job description to reclaim the oversight role
  • Help other staff better define their job descriptions to make clear boundaries for them as well

3. To Create a Road Map

Your business owner job description should include your main goals, which, in turn, creates a road map for measuring progress. When you’ve gotten a bit fuzzy on whatgoals you wanted to accomplish, you’ll have a reference point. Adjust your job description at least once a year to ensure you’re always setting new goals (and are moving further along that road map.)

Example: For the past year, you’ve been spinning your wheels—not really sure where to take your business next. Without a job description to reference, your goals are unclear…and your employees keep looking to you for direction. You need a map!

Try this:

  • Include 2-3 new goals each year in your job description
  • Evaluate your progress at achieving these goals throughout the year
  • Keep your job description posted where you can reference it easily

4. To Foster Development

Your business owner job description should include your duties as the developer—of relationships, hiring, training, and sales. As the owner, you have that special power and ethos that means in some cases, only you have the authority to close deals and develop sales partnerships. Your job description should reflect that.

Example: You’ve discovered an excellent partnership opportunity and want to get the partner on board, but there’s debate about who should meet with them for discussions. Is it the sales team? A department manager? Or you, the business owner? Having a job description that defines your role as head developer would save time in this situation.

Try this:

  • Include your role as developer in your job description
  • Foster development opportunities both internally and externally
  • Use your authority as the business owner to add importance to meetings

5. To Increase Efficiency

If nothing else, a business owner job description can eliminate any gray areas and make it clear for you (and your team) what your duties entail. When there’s no room for distractions to slip in, efficiency improves—and you get more done. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Example: A newly hired employee keeps coming to you with questions about how to do certain tasks as well as HR inquiries. Unless your job description includes training and HR responsibilities, this is your time to reference your duties and delegate to the proper team members. No time wasted!

Try this:

  • Keep your job description in a place where staff can see it
  • Have employees outline their responsibilities together so everyone knows who does what
  • Don’t be afraid to mentor, but when you’re in a time crunch—use the job description to direct people

When you start to define your role as more than just ‘Business Owner’, you’ll see the benefits of being less ambiguous about what it is you really do. You might even get more sleep at night. 😉

Now that you’re equipped with advice for writing that business owner job description, it’s time to get started. I have a tool that I’ve used with countless business owners to help them craft their own job description that I wanted to share with you as well. You can download it below! (And be sure to let me know how it works out for you, too.)

How do you feel about job descriptions? Do you have one? What does yours include?

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