I had a recent conversation with a colleague about how many small business owners and entrepreneurs have a hard time with the delegation of tasks. I get it. When you have the type of personality that it takes to start your own business it is hard to give up control. But sometimes it makes too much sense not to delegate. For example, my colleague told me about a successful small business owner who had over $30,000 on the table in outstanding AR. The problem was not disgruntled clients that did not want to pay; the issue was that this business owner simply did not have the time to make follow up calls.
Why People Don’t Delegate
- Not Enough Time: The perception is that you do not have enough time to properly explain the task or teach the skills necessary for a delegated task. The truth is that delegation always takes longer the first couple of times you hand off a task. But later it will save you hours, days, and weeks.
- Loss of Control: Most small business owners are used to doing everything on their own. They are uncomfortable giving up control. It is frightening to allow another person-maybe even someone that you do not know-to complete a task for your business. But isn’t one of the payoffs expected from all the hard work in running a successful, small business the freedom to no longer have to do the “daily grind” work, the “menial” work, the “frustrating calendaring and tedious phone call” work?
- Not sure Who to Delegate To: Many entrepreneurs do not have the funds to hire a full time or even a part time person. Many small business owners only need help 3-5 hours per week. Where are you going to find a hardworking, reputable person who only wants to work a few hours a week? Where do you find a hard worker that does not need benefits?
What to Delegate
I tell my clients to give me what they don’t like to do, what they dread, or what they are not good at. Most of them start off with tasks such as:
- Client Follow Up
- E-Mail Management
- Scheduling/Calendar Management
- Invoicing/AR Follow Up
- Social Media Marketing
- Data Entry
Tips for Successful Delegation
- A clearly defined task will produce clearly defined results. Open and routine communication is a must, especially at first.
- Let go of dictating the how and focus on the what. Describe what you want and let the assistant decide on the how.
- Start with a small project or task. This will help to develop communication and trust between you and your assistant. After you see how the task was successfully completed, you will feel confident to delegate more.
Back to the small business owner with the 30K in AR. Think of how a few hours a week in collection calls would change his business not to mention his peace of mind! To me, it is a no brainer that this is a task that he needs to pass off to someone. It pays to delegate! I know that delegation can be difficult but it is a skill that you can improve through time, effort, and practice. The next time you find it hard to let go of a task, remember the ancient proverb: No living man all things can.
About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time, money and frustration by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207