Delegation. We all do it every day, whether it’s asking the kids to vacuum the living room, taking the car to the garage to be fixed, or hiring a gardener to tame the wilderness that is outside your house.
We pay the window cleaner to make sure our panes are sparkling, the builder to renovate our new home maybe a child-minder to look after our children.
So why is it so difficult to delegate when it comes to business?
People who will happily call out a washing machine repairman or an expert to fix the boiler are the same people staying up until 2am to send out a newsletter, working themselves into a frenzy preparing reports and worrying like mad that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
The art of delegation in business is a sticky subject for many people, especially when they’re starting a new business. But it all boils down to one simple thing, in my opinion:
If you delegate this task to someone else, can you earn more money than it costs in the time someone else is doing the job?
If you charge your clients £100 an hour, and a supplier charges you £30 an hour, surely it makes sense to delegate tasks that they can probably do better and in a timelier manner than it would take you? Leaving you free to concentrate on the parts of your business that make you money, you’re better at and you enjoy doing more?
Never has delegation been more important than when you’re starting a business; it’s way too easy to get bogged down in tasks that take up a lot of your time and aren’t really the most important thing you should be doing right now.
Off the top of my head here are 4 things business start-ups should be delegating to someone else:
1) Setting up accounts systems
Your accounts systems are going to be the backbone of your business, ensuring that your clients are invoiced on time and pay when they should. But if you’re not an accountant, and don’t want to be, then it’s easy to get bogged down with small details. Which package is better? Software or ‘in the cloud’? How do you set up recurring invoices? Do you have the contact details for all clients? How do you reconcile the bank? Will it handle Paypal? These questions and more can take up a lot of your time; time you could be spending on growing and building your business.
Let someone else take the strain. Find someone to evaluate the many accounts packages out there, do the research, set up templates, make sure your clients are in there, send out the invoices and mark them paid when they come in. It sounds like an easy job, but if it’s not your main skill, you could save a lot of time and money by letting someone else take the strain.
2) Sourcing suppliers
Whether its printers or IT people, an SEO company or telesales agency, a business coach or publisher, whatever the supplier you need, finding the right one can take up a lot of your time. Getting various quotes to make sure you get the best deal, talking on the telephone to make sure they understand what you need, evaluating testimonials and referrals; these are just some of the tasks you’ll have to undertake for each supplier you choose. When you’ve spent hours having the same conversation with many different suppliers, you’ll often begin wondering if you could do without that service after all!
Delegating this task to someone else means that you only have to have the conversation once, you don’t have to go through a whole load of quotes, and you can be sure that the reputations of your suppliers have been checked out. Imagine simply having to say ‘Yes’ to the best quote out there, safe in the knowledge the hard work has been done. THAT’S delegation!
3) Handling a launch
Whether its cocktails for 50 or a seminar for 5000, launching a business can be a very busy time. Not only do you have to make arrangements with the venue, the caterers, the suppliers and everyone else involved, you have to make sure the invitations go out, the RSVPs are noted, the attendees know where they should be and more. It’s a time consuming task.
If organisation isn’t one of your skills, find someone for whom it is! An event can’t go well when you’re so frazzled you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. You’ll enjoy your event a whole lot more when you know everything is in hand and all you have to do is turn up and wow everyone.
4) Putting systems in place
When you first start a business, you want everything to be right; whether its invoice templates, CRM systems, regular email newsletters, social media policies or simply systems for the processes in your business.
But once you start getting clients, the above things tend to take a bit of a backseat, and before you know it your well thought out systems have gone by the wayside as you try to claw back an extra hour each day to keep on top of your work.
Delegating the setting up of systems can ensure that your business runs smoothly from the start. And let’s not forget that another eye and ear on the business could bring up things you’ve not even thought of to make it run even more smoothly. It’s also easier to get the systems in place from the start than it is to start designing new ones 2 years down the line (although putting them in at any time is better than not putting them in at all!)
Delegation isn’t easy and it doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people in business, but it could be the essential start your business needs, leaving you free to do the work you love and reap the rewards.
What tasks do you delegate? Do you find delegation easy? What tasks would you like to delegate in 2013? What do you refuse to delegate? Let me know in the comments below!