Man stood over another shoulder watching something on their computer screen

Running a Small Business – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Part 3)

Part 3 – The Ugly (ok, who’s picking up this trophy then?)

 For Part 1 of this article, go herePart 2 of this article is over here.


So before we get into The Ugly, let’s take a quick look at how specific technology applications can actually help with some of The Bad that we covered in Part 2!

How technology can help

These days, a new type of platform is born every second.

Your teams can use platforms that offer solutions such as payroll, accounting, inventory management, etc.

But be warned, these platforms won’t be able to cover 100% of business functions and still need a professional behind the wheel – although they certainly lighten the burden.

Some examples of these are:


👉 Zenefits (HR)

An all-encompassing HR SaaS platform designed specifically for small and midsize businesses. It streamlines duties such as onboarding, payroll, etc.


👉 Quickbooks (Accounting)

Quickbooks and its online version both manage small business finances and give instant access to customer, vendor and employee information.


👉 Freshdesk (Customer Service)

An omnichannel, AI-driven, self-service solution for customer service. The platform can automate repetitive work and streamline customer conversations.


👉 Pipedrive (Sales)

A cloud-based CRM platform that helps you organise and retain your customers to ultimately drive sales growth.


This is by no means a complete list. But a quick Google search will find the right platform for you, whatever your business needs.


The Ugly


Having to decide how to organise your departments might have you climbing up the walls with worry, but the end-result is beneficial to your business.

You pay close attention to these functions because your business’ health depends on their performance.

But there are other lurking dangers business owners should be weary of.

Dangers you don’t expect, things that nobody tells you before starting a business.

Despite not being directly beneficial to your business, they want your attention… and not just that.


They want your money. 🤑🤑


Lots of it.

  • Depending on what your business does, there might be different rules to follow or insurance to pay.
  • As the business owner, you have to register with HMRC for tax purposes and are responsible for submitting your own tax returns.
  • Limited companies (and foreign businesses with UK branches) have to register with and pay Corporation Tax, which is 20% of profits minus allowances.
  • If your annual turnover is more than £83,000, you also need to register for VAT and may need to pay a Capital Gains Tax.
  • You are required to keep a record of your accounts for tax and auditing purposes.
  • You won’t initially know how much capital you should set aside for taxes, which could take your financial situation to a place of no return. And no, not even your expert outsourced accountant will be able to fix that one!


The ugly side of running a business is indeed a sight for sore eyes.


What SMEs can do for smoother operations


Nearing the end of this wild spaghetti western one can’t help but wonder: is there any way to tame the bad and stop the ugly from catching you off-guard?

Well, thankfully it’s not the 19th century anymore and we’re not what you would call feared gunslingers. But we do have other weapons.


🎯 Do your research thoroughly.

Make sure you know everything there is to know about taxes specific to your business.

🎯 Don’t rush into agreements.

Whether you are outsourcing or hiring, just make sure your choice is the one that resonates well with your business.

🎯 Don’t be afraid to look for support.

It exists and it’s there for you, so look to communities of business owners like yourself for advice and answers to your questions. Nobody says you have to deal with this chaos alone.


Come to think of it, running a small business might just be as entertaining and chaotic as the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching this spaghetti western, it’s set during the civil war and features two entrepreneurial-minded fellows trying to find their “treasure” and striving to keep it safe from the greedy hands.

After all, as a small business owner, you fight every day to keep what you earn.

Hopefully, these tips will make things easier.

James Naylor

James Naylor is ITbuilder's Managing Director and Founder. He has worked in technology since the early nineties and, after a decade in the corporate world, went into business himself.

James has lead ITbuilder for over two decades, building the business into the force that it is today, but is still a technician at heart and still very hands on with tech.

Despite growing up in Hertfordshire, James lives in the Netherlands for five years as well as London, before returning and setting up the base in Hertford, where he lives today.

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