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Delegation and the small business


Small business leaders must possess the ability to delegate. Without it, the business is strangled and limited by the capabilities of just a few. An inability to delegate also stifles growth and potentially leads to a catastrophic failure on the back of burnout.

But delegating, where your much-beloved business is concerned, can be nerve-wracking. How can you delegate when you wish you could retain all of the control?


1. Work out what to delegate

The starting point is to identify what should be delegated. Figure out what’s taking up a disproportionate amount of time or energy and start there. Consider what you love and what you hate. Think about your skills.


You want to concentrate your efforts where your passion and skills lie and delegate the rest. Target delegation at low-cost but high-time activities e.g. admin. If you think you really can’t delegate something, use business coaching to explore why.


2. It doesn’t need to be the whole process

The mistake that newbie delegators make is thinking it has to be all or nothing. It doesn’t. Break down processes and consider where you add the greatest value and consider which other elements can be delegated. This also helps you to retain some control.


Bear in mind, it may be useful to delegate non-work tasks to free up your time and energy to do what you need to do.


3. Know your processes

Get to know the nitty-gritty of your processes. This helps you create clear instructions so that there is consistency in your delegation as well as documented expectations.


Remember that the person you delegate to may well improve the process, so be prepared to adapt. Indeed, it’s one of the many benefits of delegation.


4. Do a cost-benefit analysis

Delegating can cost more money, especially when you outsource. However, you need to get practical with the sums here. Return-on-investment is typically high when it comes to delegated tasks. For example, outsourcing your social media marketing typically brings in new business.


Also consider how you can delegate within the structure you’ve got. In small businesses, roles are more fluid and it may be that you can delegate small marketing tasks to a finance employee at certain times of the month, for example.


5. Trade skills

There’s a surprising amount of trading skills that goes on in small businesses. Network with other business owners and you may be able to create reciprocal agreements that work for both parties.


6. Automate what you can

Who said delegation has to be to a person? Automation can prevent the need for a lot of repetitive simple tasks.


Becoming an effective delegator takes practice and support. I’m here to help.

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