Are you a business owner who has a hard time with delegating? Letting go can be hard to do. But wearing too many hats and trying to do it all yourself is a recipe for unnecessary stress, limited or stagnant growth, and burnout. You’re only one person and there’s only so much time in a day. There are plenty of tasks someone else could easily do! And freeing up time for you to focus on activities that promote healthy, sustainable growth for your business is a logical, smart thing to do.
When I have this conversation with clients, they’ll often say, “Okay. So, you’re saying I need to delegate. How do I decide what to delegate and what to do myself?” It’s a good question. And in an article written for Forbes in 2013, Martin Zwilling, founder and CEO of Startup Professionals wrote, “The challenge is delegating the right things, and not delegating the wrong things. If you don’t get it right, you are busy, but working on the wrong things.”
That statement couldn’t be more true! If you’re going to delegate, make sure you’re delegating the right things. It’s not just a matter of taking things off your plate. It’s a matter of making conscious choices about what tasks you could (and should) let go of, or outsource. You should delegate the tasks that will have a positive impact on your time and efficiency, and promote growth for your business.
Start by giving some serious thought to what you like to do, what you’re good at, and what tasks feel like they’re just sucking time and energy. (Here’s a checklist, so you can do a quick evaluation.) Once you’ve determined where your interests and strengths lie, you can assess which activities are best done by you and which can go to someone else.
Based on my experience with clients, as well as my own business, here are my picks and thoughts on the top five tasks you can delegate to streamline your time and effort. Pick the ones that seem right for you, based on your quick self-assessment.
Social Media and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) –
Like it or not, social media is a must for businesses today. But it requires time, energy, and strategy to reach your target market with great, valuable content. Writing blogs, creating graphics, finding curated content that informs or inspires, and regularly engaging with your “tribe” is definitely something you could delegate. And there are people out there who are trained and knowledgeable about how to effectively reach your target market. Even if hiring this out seems like just an extra expense, it’s well worth it!
The same goes for CRM. Putting out valuable content and staying in regular contact with existing customers and followers is important. Hire someone who has a strength in this area and hand it over. You can still maintain final say over what goes out with your name on it, but the bulk of it will be done.
Lead Generation and Marketing –
This would include things like market research and creating landing pages, calls to action and sales funnels on your website, as well as advertising. It could also include looking for opportunities to participate in trade shows or speaking engagements. Again, this can all take up a lot of your time that could be spent doing other things. Give this to someone you trust who has the skills to do this efficiently.
Administrative Tasks – Filing, scheduling, data entry, taking or returning calls, sorting, prioritizing, and responding to emails, etc. –
These types of tasks can really be a time suck. And they are perfect for someone else to handle. With respect to calls and emails, have the person managing those only pass the most important on to you. Give clear direction on what constitutes “important,” then give them the authority to deal with the rest.
For most small business owners, keeping track of the numbers is not a strength. You always need to know what’s going on though, so schedule times to meet with the person who is managing this.
Promotional Materials –
Unless you’re a graphic designer with excellent copywriting skills, this is something best handled by a professional service. You want your promotional materials to look professional and convey a persuasive message.
Once you’ve identified what makes sense for you to delegate, there are a few things to do to make sure everything goes smoothly – and gets done. First, hand the tasks over to people you trust. Second, make sure expectations and deadlines are clear. Finally, set up a system to follow up. The follow up might be a set time to talk once a month (or more often) to discuss how things are going.
Also, delegating doesn’t mean you completely wash your hands of something, you still have to know what’s going on. But when you entrust tasks to someone else, the time it takes to check in is far less than actually doing it yourself.
You don’t have to wear all the hats or control everything with respect to your business. And you shouldn’t try. You should always be the one steering the ship, but every great captain still needs hands on deck. So, build your team, start delegating the right things to trusted people, and increase your productivity and profits.