Do you need to learn how to delegate? Do you continuously work long hours? Are you perpetually tired? Do you find it hard to fit all the tasks you need to do into your day? Then it's time to decide what to delegate.
Running a small business isn't a job; it's twelve jobs - or more. The typical sole proprietor who doesn't delegate is her own manager, marketer, sales person, PR specialist, product or services developer, fundraiser, bookkeeper, human resources department, receptionist, secretary, and gofer. Some even serve as their own accountants and tax preparers.
And all of these jobs are in addition to what the small business person actually got into business to do in the first place, whether it be designing web pages or creating sportswear.
Shuck Some Hats and Delegate
No matter what stage of development your business is at, you don't have to wear all these hats and perform all of these tasks yourself.
Learning how to delegate means learning how to hand some of the hats you now wear to other people who will wear them in your place.
And handing off some of your many hats means that you will have more time and energy to focus on what it is you do best and want to do most - which will translate into increased success for your business.
The Fear of Delegating
Don't let fear prevent you from delegating!
Some small business people are afraid to "let go" of a particular task and delegate it for what they consider to be good reasons. "So-and-so won't do as good a job at ________ as I do." Or "I'll waste too much time telling so-and-so how I want it done. It's easier to do it myself."
These are myths. People who make this kind of objection to delegating are really afraid of losing control. It's important to realize that you don't lose control of a task just because someone else is doing it. You still have the final say.
The Cost of Delegating
"It will cost me money," is the most common excuse not to learn how to delegate. It may or may not. Delegating will certainly cost you some time, because you'll have to research the best provider for the task you seek to delegate.
Delegating someone else to do a particular task for you may also cost you money. Some business people get around this by getting family members to pitch in. Others favour using people who are just starting out, as they often provide services for reduced rates. You may even be able to barter an exchange of services with other business people.
Remember that cost is relative. For example, is your doing all your own bookkeeping interfering with the time you would like to spend with your family? If your answer is "yes," then the cost of delegating is well worth it for you.
Tips on How to Delegate Successfully
Set your fear of delegating aside. Just because some one else is doing it, doesn't mean that the job won't be done just as well as you would do it. In fact, sometimes the job will be done better, because that person is a specialist in that particular field.
Be creative when you delegate. Some jobs don't need to be filled by other people, or even filled at all for a period of time. For instance, tasks such as promoting your website can be performed by software. Tasks such as developing a new product may be put on hold for a specified period of time while you regroup. Some services can be delivered part-time.
Look at your "whole life" when you're choosing tasks to delegate. Sometimes delegating tasks in your personal life makes more sense economically or personally than delegating a particular business task. For instance, it may be much more inexpensive for you to hire someone to mind your children than hire someone to design a marketing plan.
Delegating Related Reading
Homework Assignment: Delegating
Time to get down and delegate. Your assignment this week is to choose one task and delegate it to someone else.
Look back over your weekly activity records. Highlight or note the tasks that you resent spending so much time on. From these, choose the one that has the highest freedom value for you. In other words, freedom from which task would do the most for you?
Don't limit yourself to business related tasks only when you're making your selection for delegating. It may make more sense to you economically or emotionally to free yourself of a task connected with your personal life. That's fine.
Whatever task you've chosen, now do the research, make the call, and delegate that task to someone or something else. This is the hat that you will not be wearing next week!
Join us in the Small Business Canada Forum to share your thoughts on delegating or to discuss how you might delegate particular tasks.
Continue on to Business Success Lesson 4