Start-up Confidential: Five OTHER job titles you take on as a start-up

You're never just a managing director when you start a business. Our secret start-up reveals the necessary evils you can't avoid

I have to admit that although there are many things I love about running my own business, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are things I miss from the cosy world of my old business.

Top of that list is the big team who would support me by getting on with some of the essential but tedious admin that goes with client work and, sometimes if I had been nice enough to them, make me the odd cup of coffee when there was a big deadline looming.

As a bootstrapping start-up still in its first year, one thing I have learnt – as if I didn’t know it already – is that if you run your own business you have to become an expert at a lot of things. Here are five job titles anyone starting their own business gets in addition to managing director.

1. Head of IT and IT support desk manager

It may be a world of cloud computing and software as a service but when that deadline hits and you need your printer or email to work, it’s you who will be the expert finding the fix to get stuff working. I can only dream of the time when I can pay for outsourced support who will wave a magic wand to get things working when they go wrong.

2. Head of finance

Oh for those days when I agreed a fee, sorted an invoicing schedule and then never really had to worry about the mechanics of being paid. As head of finance I’m also head of credit control, expenses management and of course in charge of supplier payments. It’s fun seeing the money coming in but it would be nice to give the job of shaking my clients down for money to someone else.

3. Head of admin and office services

Photocopying may be a thing of the past in many offices but preparing powerpoints, client reports, charts and all that other important stuff that takes ages and is part of consultancy life: yup you guessed it, that’ll be me who does it. Oh, and I have to make sure I order the milk and keep the coffee stocked up. I never thought I would be the king of admin….

4. Head of legal services

Whatever business you run, you’ll end up coming up against the law at some point. For the big stuff of course you’ll need a lawyer. Of course you can get model contracts and documents drafted for the smaller everyday stuff but, drawing up contracts and dealing with incoming legal challenges (you will get them!) will be down to you.

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5. Head of motivation and engagement

OK, so that’s not a real job title but if you are going to keep on keeping on when you hit obstacles and tough times, it’ll be down to you to grit your teeth, stay positive and keep on course. Whinging to your partner who is relying on you to make the business work or your clients isn’t really going to cut it.

On a rainy Friday, when the printer has given up the ghost ahead of a vital presentation to the management team of a new client and you have a pile of financial admin facing you over the weekend, it’s easy for me to wistfully dream of the days when I had someone to sort it all for me and think…should I go back? Wouldn’t life be easier?

But then, that’s the thing. This is my business, which is growing through my hard work and I’m doing things my way. For me, that’s inspiring enough.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a printer to fix….


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