Jack of all trades: Entrepreneurs' "can-do" attitudes pose potential risks for their small businesses | Hiscox
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Jack of all trades: Entrepreneurs’ “can-do” attitudes pose potential risks for their small businesses

JUNE 26, 2012NEW YORK – The “can-do” attitude that makes many entrepreneurs so successful, could also be their Achilles’ heel, according to a new survey released today by Hiscox, the first US insurer to enable small businesses to purchase business insurance direct and online in real-time. The Hiscox research1 found that despite 64% saying that legal issues should be handled by professionals, only 26% of small businesses actually employ full or part-time legal and/or accounting help.

Passion drives entrepreneurs, pressure is part of the package

36% of the surveyed entrepreneurs reported that their passion gets them through tough times, while 40% believe pressure is what they signed up for. However, passion could be clouding entrepreneurs’ perceptions of when they need to employ outside help for specific tasks. According to the data, a full 76% of small business owners say that either their skills gap is not a threat or that they are able to plug the gap with professional expertise when needed.

“Entrepreneurs truly have to be a ‘jack of all trades,’ yet a clear skills gap exists between their limited knowledge in certain areas and what they are actually willing to invest in,” said Kevin Kerridge, small business insurance expert at Hiscox. “It is important that small business owners recognize where professional expertise is imperative. Hiring or contracting support for technical sides of running a business can save them money in the long run.”

Knowledge gaps pose problems

Small business owners admit that they lack knowledge in key areas, including legal (56%), taxes (36%), IT (34%) and insurance (31%). Despite the potential hazards of legal and financial errors, more business owners employ a full-time communications officer than an accountant or in-house legal counsel (8% and 5%, respectively). Only 7% of small business owners would opt for an accountant or lawyer if they could make another full-time hire.

The research also found that business owners regularly handle most office tasks themselves, all the way down to cleaning the office and making deliveries:

Ordering supplies
Paying invoices
Preparing invoices
Printing/ binding documents
Opening the business in the morning
Closing up at night
Cleaning the office space
Reception duties
Customer deliveries


“While it’s in the DNA of an entrepreneur to just get things done, they can open themselves up to potential risks that can lead to business interruption, or even litigation if they try to handle key areas like legal, taxes, and insurance themselves. This has the potential to unnecessarily cause a damaging domino effect on their business that could shut its doors permanently,” Kerridge warns.

Read more news from Hiscox Small Business Insurance.



For further information please contact: 

Hunter Hoffmann (646) 442-8341 hunter.hoffmann@hiscox.com 

1Note to Editors: The research sample of 600 respondents, 300 in the US and 300 in the UK, was drawn at random from online panels of small businesses with fewer than ten employees between 14 and 17th May 2012. The respondents were qualified as owners, partners and directors. The research has statistical accuracy of +/- 2% to +/- 4% for the whole sample at 95% confidence.

About Hiscox Small Business Insurance 

Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). Hiscox is the first company in the U.S. to offer insurance for small professional services businesses direct, online, and in real-time. We provide professional liability, general liability and business owner’s insurance, underwritten by Chicago-based Hiscox Insurance Company Inc., which is rated ‘A’ (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company. Additional information can be found on the Why Choose Hiscox? page. Coverages are subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states. 

Hiscox also provides professional liability, property and specialty insurance to US businesses through US-based brokers. This communication does not constitute a solicitation of business by Hiscox’s syndicates at Lloyd’s, London. Read more news from Hiscox Small Business Insurance.

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