Research earlier this year by the Federation of Small Business revealed that administration (or “red tape”) is a problem for small business owners.

Here are the numbers:



Business owners that believe that growth is being held back by business admin.

33 hrs


The time spent each month by small business owners on admin.

8.8 hrs


The time spent by small business owners each month on marketing and sales.



Small businesses prevented from getting on with their priorities.



Small business owners that think they have to spend too much time on business compliance, tax, employment law issues, insurance, pensions and health and safety.



Small business owners that would focus spare time on marketing and sales.



The average amount each year spent on tax compliance

Clearly, it is not possible to get rid of all “red tape” altogether. The term “red tape” is an emotive one because it hints at something which is unnecessary or excessively burdensome. It is, of course, unrealistic to suggest that employers can jettison all their responsibilities with regard to tax, pensions, welfare and safety, for example.

It seems entirely wrong, however, when small business owners say that they spend four times as many hours on admin than they do on winning new business. This is bad for their business, their customers and the economy.

Something must be done about it and action must fall into two categories:

  1. Government action

    Government should always be looking to simplify all forms of legal and financial compliance. (This is an area where #Brexit might offer some opportunities).

  2. Small Business Action

    There are a lot of opportunities for small businesses to deal with their admin much more efficiently, including:

    • Time management.
    • Prioritising sales and marketing rather than leaving it until “time becomes available” (it never does!)
    • Automating more business processes.
    • Using more Mobile apps to gets things done instantly and whilst “on the move”, which is one of the biggest problems for small business owners.