Small business owners are sacrificing creativity in their business by taking a “do it yourself” approach to administration.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners believe that their business would grow more quickly if less of their time was taken up by company admin, according to research by Geniac.

The majority (61%) of SME owners take on business admin tasks themselves spending up to half of their time dealing with legal issues, handling business accounts, as well as HR and company formation admin.

By splitting their time between different admin tasks, business owners are struggling to make time to work on growing their business. Brainstorming new ideas for the company is the main area to be neglected (33%), followed by working on new business proposals, products and services (28%) and spending time with their customers (27%).

According to psychologist Dr Gary Wood, who worked with Geniac on the study, business owners need to de-clutter their work schedules in order to make the most of their time.

He said: “Our brains work better when we concentrate on one thing at a time. What we think of as multi-tasking is actually the brain flitting between tasks very quickly.

“It's difficult for your brain to switch into creative mode when you're worrying about balancing the next spreadsheet or a looming contract deadline. So, instead of trying to be an all-rounder, play to your strengths rather than using up energy on the things you're not so good at.”

Despite 15% of business owners dreading admin tasks and 11% feeling out of their depth due to a lack of specific skills, many are still put off bringing in external help. Half of business owners have rejected external experts in different admin areas because “they’re too expensive” and 35% say they don’t have other staff members with the relevant skills.

Ironically, 32% of owners aiming to save costs by taking a DIY approach have ended up paying an external expert to fix an error they’ve made when taking on tasks they aren’t qualified to do.

Mike Galvin, co-founder of Geniac, said: “When setting up your own business you are involved with every step, from hiring employees to assembling the desks, so it’s understandable that small business owners feel they can take a DIY approach to business admin as well. But what seems like a cost cutting exercise on paper can quickly become an expensive mistake – not just in terms of rectifying errors down the line but also in terms of lost creativity.

“A business owner should be doing what they do best, solving core business issues and not being distracted by admin overload. They need to focus their time and attention on growing their company. With online business platforms, SMEs can save time, and focus on growth without the need for an external consultant or full time employee.”