The following article is a guest post by Alycia Edgar. Be sure to check the her bio at the end of the post!
The word “delegation” rolls off the tongue so easily but can be so difficult for many of us to do. However, one thing remains true, highly successful business people did not get there alone. We humans are limited in our capabilities and only have so much time available to us. We need sleep, food and rest to function properly. Outsourcing is the answer, but outsourcing will only work if you can delegate effectively.
Do you struggle to let go of tasks, thinking that no one can complete them as well as you? While this is a valid concern, remind yourself that unless it’s something that directly impacts on your clients/customers or business, “near enough is good enough”.
Perfectionism is the killer of action and implementation
As small business owners we have a substantial advantage over the corporate world. We have the ability to adapt to changes in the market place and act accordingly. But we often get stuck when it comes to taking action and implementing our ideas. If we reduce the urge for perfectionism in certain areas, we will not only find it easier to take action and implement quickly, but it will be a lot easier to delegate things to others.
To be an effective delegator you need to stop thinking “I can do that much quicker so I may as well do it myself”. You might be able to do it quicker but if you keep doing everything yourself, you’re in effect wasting time that could be spent on revenue generating tasks.
How much time could you save?
Let’s look at an example. A task takes you 20 minutes to complete each day. You really don’t need to be doing it when you could outsource this task easily. However, you haven’t yet found time to hand it over. Let’s assume it would take you 1.5 hours to create a process around this task and delegate it. Perhaps you’d need another ½ hour to create “check points” within the process to ensure its being handled correctly. This comes to a total of 2 hours to hand over a task, which will ultimately save you a total of 1 hour 40 mins each week! Of course, you may need to spend a few minutes every day reviewing the process and checking the work, but this would gradually decrease over time. Ideally you’d want to aim for a weekly review or report on how the task is being handled. Wouldn’t that free up some of your valuable time to work on revenue generating tasks?
How many tasks that you do would fall into the example above? Really think about it. Forget those limiting thoughts that “no-one can do this as well as I” and identify those tasks that could be handed over to someone else.
Provide sufficient instruction and delegate entire systems
Another important factor to consider when delegating is providing sufficient instruction. I have been guilty of handing over a task to a team member without giving enough instruction and unfortunately it backfired! My team are probably laughing if they’re reading this now. Sometimes though, I delegate like this to make them “swim” and hopefully not “sink”. I like to empower team members to take initiative and figure out how to complete the task. We are not always the best person to figure out how something should be completed.
However, if you want a task to be completed exactly as you wish, instead of simply handing it over, develop a system that delivers the outcome you want and then delegate the entire system. As mentioned before, you can create “checkpoints” within the system to ensure that if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to determine at which step the process “fell over” and make adjustments.
One of the reasons I like to use Virtual Assistance is that in many cases the task must be documented as a process and then a system developed around that. A “virtual” person cannot sit beside you as you instruct, so the system needs to be clear and concise to ensure your desired outcome is achieved.
Delegation goes hand and hand with trust. If trust is a big issue for you then systems are even more important. Create checklists that allow you to review the process at certain points until you become comfortable that the system is being followed and the outcome is being delivered to your standards.
What can you delegate today to assist in the growth of your business?
As an accountant and former surf shop owner Alycia understands the issues that small business face everyday. She believes you can work on your business effectively simply by understanding your business numbers. She creates innovative systems and processes that enable business owners to be highly focused and productive in their business, including Bookzkeeper – The Accounting Survival Kit for Small Business. To get tips on how your numbers and systems relate to working on your business, simply visit here
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