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organizational structures

In a small business there often are few staff people with many duties. Because some people must wear “several hats”, it is important to clearly identify the duties and responsibilities of each of the “hats”. Below is a sample outline of some of the key personnel in a business. Because the focus of businesses varies greatly, the number of key personnel and organizational structure can also vary substantially. However, most businesses will have many of the key personnel listed below.

Key personnel in a value-added business and their duties include:

  • Operations manager. This individual is the leader for the operation and has overall responsibility for the financial success of the business. The operations manager handles external relations with lenders, community leaders and vendors. Frequently, this individual also is in charge of either production or marketing for the business. This person will set in motion the vision, strategic plan and goals for the business.
  • Quality control, safety, environmental manager. This is a key function in any industry and, in particular, one that deals in food products. In a small business, one person generally will be responsible for handling OSHA compliance, EPA compliance, monitoring air and water quality, product quality, training of employees in each of these areas and filing all necessary monthly, quarterly and yearly reports.
  • Accountant, bookkeeper, controller. This is another key function. The individual filling this role has the responsibility for monthly income statements and balance sheets, collection of receivables, payroll and managing the cash. The key aspect here is managing the cash.
  • Office manager. The person in this slot also may serve as human resource director, purchasing agent and “traffic cop” with salespeople and vendors. This employee, in general, will oversee everything not involved in production and may also handle some marketing duties.
  • Receptionist. Sometimes called the “front-line” person, the receptionist handles phone calls, greets visitors, handles the mail, does the billing and performs many other tasks as required by the office manager.
  • Foreperson, supervisor, lead person. This individual is the second-in-command in the shop and will oversee production in the absence of the owner, general manager or president. This position usually will have an overall understanding of all aspects of the business and also will handle working with new employees, including setting up training and schedules.
  • Marketing manager. If finances permit, a marketing manager may be on staff to handle all aspects related to promoting and selling the product. The top management person often handles this duty in a small business.
  • Purchasing manager. Duties of this position may be filled by either or both the general manager/top management person and the office manager. The supervisor or lead person often also is involved.
  • Shipping and receiving person or manager. This may not be a full-time position in a start-up business. Someone, however, needs to be assigned the task of packaging, ordering transportation for delivery, receiving incoming material and warehousing of finished goods and stock. Several people may be involved in this, including the office manager, foreperson or accounting clerk.
  • Professional staff. Instrumental in each company, new or existing, are the firm’s professional staff resources. These include an accountant (CPA), a lawyer, a computer consultant and, possibly, a local doctor or access to a medical facility. Although perhaps not outlined as full-time staff positions in your organization, these roles should be considered a part of the management team and discussed in the development of the business plan.