What to Delegate & What to Keep

By Christina Suter on May 18, 2019 at 09:00 AM in Business Issues
What to Delegate & What to Keep

There comes a point in the business life of a successful small business when it requires more time and energy than you, as the owner have, and when the business can no longer be considered a small business. You have 16 waking hours and 7 days per week in which to get things done. When your business gets so busy or big that it requires more time and days than you have, you may experience overwhelm. You know you're at this point when your business is profitable-- when it's earning money and able to pay you adequately. These growing pains require you to begin to delegate meaning you have to start paying people in order to grow your paycheck. It may seem counter-logical; you may think you're saving money by doing it yourself, but it's actually costing you money and stress.

If you see clients directly you have directly billable time. Every minute you spend outside of that time it dilutes your hourly income. 

You've done well in the past as a small business owner-- you were willing to work hard and get everything done. When you started you were the bookkeeper, the lawyer, and the janitor and you were rewarded for your time and talent. But now that you're making more money, that works against you so you need to hire someone to do those tasks and leverage your time into the higher value items of your business. In order to stay successful, you have to downsize your business or you start delegating.

Decide what to outsource by asking what are your strengths. Are you good with numbers, customer service, design, etc? What is your nature? What do you currently do with your time? If you don't know, every hour, write down one sentence about what you did for the last hour. Do that for a day and look back and check off the things that are necessary for the business to run. Then circle the things on that list that requires your specific expertise. see how you spent your day, that will show you your nature. Next, take a highlighter and highlight what you like to do. Do you like doing the bookkeeping, even if it doesn't require your expertise? The things that you like to do that make you money and the things that require your expertise and make you money... you can keep those things. Everything else, figure out how to delegate them. Bookkeeping-- the process of taking an invoice and inputting it into software like Quickbooks is something you can outsource.

Things that aren't your nature or highest strength, require delegation.

How do you delegate? Talk to the person you've chosen to give the task and tell them the end result of what you want them to do. Deliver the story behind its necessity, the vision, and how their task serves the business. Part of the reason we are hesitant to delegate to people is, we believe we are the only ones who can implement the vision of the company. Once you've delegated that project (something with a beginning and end that's delieverd back to you) plan on following up. But if you've delegated a system, something that's done every day, tell the person you're going to do it with them together the first couple of times and then you'll be available by phone for the next few times after that. Review the protocol after they've done it alone a few times to make sure it meets your standards. Don't review how or when they do it, just make sure they're doing what needs to be done and to the standard by which you expect.