As a small business owner, you’re used to having to do much of the work yourself, but there comes a time–if it hasn’t already–when you need to delegate your tasks to others. As your business expands, it’s time to turn things over to the capable hands of your your existing team members, or hire new ones to help reduce your load so that you don’t end up burnt out. You can hire technical writers to write copy for your website while you work with customers or develop new products.
The late Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, has been quoted as saying that one should never do anything that someone else can or will do when there is so much of importance to be done which others cannot or will not do. This principle is applicable to everyone–from business owners to individuals in leadership roles to stay-at-home parents. Everyone has their own unique strengths which should be capitalized on, while other tasks get delegated to those who excel in different areas.
Five ‘Do’s’ of Delegating
If you’re unsure of giving up control by delegating, know that you’re not alone. Many people are wary about what will happen, but if you follow these five tips, you’ll master the fine art of delegation and realize that it can be a successful and liberating experience:
Do #1– Realize that you can’t work non-stop. You may be able to work for 10-14 hours a day for awhile, but this model is unsustainable. A steady schedule of working round-the-clock will likely land you a spot in the hospital and broken relationships with those you care about the most.
Do #2– Know that your job is unique to you. Create a list of your responsibilities and then look it over to see which ones must be done by you. Scheduling meetings, handling the checkbook and answering emails are things that can be done by any adult.
Do #3– Build your team. If you don’t have any staff, now is the time to bring on a person–even if it’s only for a few hours a week–to relieve you of your burdens. Conduct thorough interviews so you end up with someone who you enjoy working with. Remember, even if they don’t possess every skill that you’re looking for, you can teach them as you go.
Do #4– Hand over responsibility. Now that you know who you’re going to turn your tasks over to, you need to let go. Depending on what you need accomplished, you can give them varying levels of responsibility. Start with simple tasks in which you give them explicit directions, with the end goal being to give them a task and let them research it and make the decision that they feel is best.
Do #5– Do only what others cannot do. As your responsibilities, team and budget grow, you’ll be able to outsource all the tasks that don’t require you to do them. Keep delegating until you’re only doing the work that others on your team can’t do.
While you won’t be able to delegate your entire to-do list to your assistant tomorrow, there are probably half a dozen things that you can hand over. As you eliminate mundane work from your day, you’ll be able to improve and grow your business like never before.
Charlotte E is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.