The Importance of Delegation in Small Business
As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats. To make things run and to get established you need to split your time between many different tasks, and as rewarding as it is being able to make an impact in many different areas, it’s also a source of stress – especially as your business begins to gain traction.
If you want to continue growing and your business to continually improve, you need to learn the art of delegation.
Dedicating resources to specific areas not only ensures that they’re done to the best standard, but it also gives you one less thing to do. In time, most entrepreneurs aim to have a company that essentially ‘runs itself’ and you can only reach that point by assigning the workload of each department to someone else. Here are a few things to bear in mind.
Find the right staff
When you’ve been used to running everything yourself, it can be difficult to then bring people in and trust them running areas of your business. After all, your business is like your baby. You’ve nurtured it, put your all into it, so trusting others to do a good job can be a difficult part of the process.
To ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible, it’s important to find the right people for the job. It all starts with a good ad, while you’ll want your job vacancy to sound interesting to grab people’s attention, it’s important not to dress it up as something it’s not.
You need to be realistic so that candidates don’t end up disappointed with the role and end up leaving. This will mean hiring and recruiting time and costs all over again which can be expensive and slow productivity.
Once you’ve got your shortlist of candidates, interview them carefully. If you’re hiring based on experience, find out exactly what they’ve done in similar roles so you can choose the person who will add the most to your company.
If you’re hiring based on potential, you’ll need to know the skills and personality of the individual and pinpoint what it is about them that you believe makes them an asset.
Don’t be afraid to conduct second or even third interviews. You want to know that you’re hiring the person that’s the very best fit for your business.
Outsource some areas
In some cases, it’s better to outsource the work rather than hire additional staff members. This is often the case if the workload fluctuates (you don’t want to be stuck paying an employee when the work for them to do isn’t always there).
Alternatively, if the task will require significant amounts of money being spent on things like specialist equipment and bigger premises, it can be better to assign the work to a company that already has everything in place.
Take manufacturing, for example, this is something that as a small business you’re going to find it difficult to do. Setting up a plant with all of the machines, tools and vehicles needed can cost hundreds of thousands and beyond. You then need to hire the right people for the job and ensure that all health and safety is being followed to the letter.
As a small business owner, chances are all of this is way over your head – and so hiring a manufacturing company to make your products for you is a far better option.
Some departments will require specific skills and constant training and education to keep up with rules and regulations. Take human resources for example, with employment laws always changing, you’d need to make sure everyone on your team was working from the most up to date information.
Sales operations are often best dealt with by a sales consultancy, and marketing is often best dealt with by a professional marketing agency as things like technology can all change so quickly.
If you’re not certain you’re able to keep up with and run things to the highest standard, then don’t attempt it. Keep the processes in-house that you’re comfortable with and knowledgeable about, that way you can personally oversee the work and ensure you’re happy with it.
One of the great things about delegating is that it frees up the workload from you. It allows you to take a step back instead of being ‘in’ your business you can take a more objective standpoint and run it from the top instead.
Once the work has been assigned to freelancers, contractors or employees then let them get on with it.
Your job is to oversee things, of course you will want to occasionally check work and you’ll need to ensure that things are being done to the best standard. But you shouldn’t be overseeing every task that every person is doing in your business.
You’ve outsourced to companies you’ve researched well and trust. You’ve spent time hiring the right people- so let them get on with what they need to do.
When people are micromanaged it can cause stress which can reduce workflow and productivity instead of improving it. Be open and ready to give advice and speak to your staff when they approach you but you need to be letting them get on with their work.
All of your business responsibility is no longer on your shoulders, so you can stress less and let things run as you know they will.
You might feel as though you’re the best person to do every job, but delegation is all about letting others take the reins in certain areas.
However, there will still be some aspects of your business that are best run by you, so prioritise and work out what these will be. Think of the skills and experience you have and go on this.
If you’ve previously ran a successful blog for example, then creating content for this could be something you could do yourself.
If you’re a qualified accountant then you might choose to run some areas of your accounts – business software can make things much quicker and easier.
Have you started delegating any work in your small business?