Small Business Manager: Job Duties & Requirements

Learn about the day-to-day responsibilities of small business managers, which are typically influenced by the size and type of company. Read on for more information about useful degree programs, employment outlook and earnings potential for small business managers.

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Career Definition for a Small Business Manager

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business as a for-profit, independently owned company with approximately 100 to 1500 employees, depending on the industry or sector (www.sba.gov). In general, small business managers oversee the daily activities of lower-level employees and make sure that the company is run in a smooth and efficient manner. Their duties usually require a working knowledge of accounting, budgeting, finance and tax policies. Small business managers may also analyze data and determine sales goals, as well as make marketing, production and purchasing decisions.

Education Options include bachelor's or master's degrees in business administration or non-degree programs and certificates in small business management
Job Skills Ability to multitask, problem-solving skills, money management skills, good interpersonal skills
Median Salary (2018)* $100,930 (for general and operations managers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 9% increase (for general and operations managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Educational requirements for small business managers or owners are non-specific and can vary. Relevant degree programs may include a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Some community colleges or university extension programs may offer non-degree or certificate programs in small business management. Coursework may include topics in business planning and operations, finance, human resources and marketing.

Required Skills

Small business managers wear many hats, so the ability to learn on the fly, manage money, multitask and solve problems is essential. Interpersonal communication skills are key, especially when dealing with employees, suppliers, clients or customers.

Employment and Salary Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of general and operations managers, including small business managers, was $100,930 in May 2018. The BLS also predicts a 9% growth in jobs for general and operations managers from 2016-2026. In addition to individual companies, opportunities for employment may be found at scientific and technical consulting firms, computer systems service companies and restaurants. In May 2018, California, Texas and New York had the highest levels of employment for general and operations managers. The highest-paying states during this same month included New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers to a small business manager include:

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee the manufacturing of a variety of consumer products, including automobiles, computers and paper goods. An undergraduate or graduate degree in business administration, engineering or industrial management, along with up to five years of relevant experience, is usually required to obtain a position. In May 2018, industrial production managers earned a median annual wage of $103,380, and a 1% decrease in employment nationwide was expected from 2016 through 2026, as reported by the BLS.

Property, Real Estate and Community Association Managers

Property, real estate and community association managers oversee the financial, leasing and maintenance aspects of commercial, industrial or residential buildings and properties. While it is possible to obtain a position with a high school diploma, college graduates or licensed real estate professionals may be preferred. In May 2018, the median yearly salary for community association, property and real estate managers was $58,340, according to the BLS. Nationwide, the BLS has also projected a 10%, or faster than average, growth in employment for property, community association and real estate managers from 2016 through 2026.


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