Welcome to Delegation Nation
Quick—when’s the last time you went on vacation? A year? Two years? Longer?
According to a recent survey, only about a quarter of small business owners take a regular vacation, and 75% worry about what’s going on when they are off. Pretty depressing numbers, right?
Yes, we know. You’re a small business. And you don’t have massive budgets or an overflow of employees. But let’s talk about how you can delegate with limited resources.
1. Take the blinders off.
When you get used to working with people in a certain capacity, you sometimes pigeon-hole their capabilities. For example, say you have 10 employees. Each one has a specific job description, so you naturally default to tasks that align with those responsibilities.
But challenge yourself to revisit your “daily definition” of your employees and co-workers. Recognize their skills outside of their responsibilities. You may find out that, an employee’s appreciation of details lends well to researching customer requests. Or that another’s fantastic work for the company translates to “Time for a promotion!”
2. Grow that trust tree.
Newsflash! You are the tree. You trust yourself to run your business and position it for success. No one else can do it like you do. However, you’re only one person. And a person needs to take a break every once in a while, right?
Expand the capacity of your trust tree. Just as you reevaluate your employees’ talents, you must also reevaluate your level of trust in them. They can’t help if you don’t trust them to help. Challenge yourself to prioritize tasks and delegate those that can be (and they will be more than you expect.) Assign responsibilities. Communicate well and be open to feedback. Then, you have to let go. They may do things differently than you would. That’s ok. You may be surprised by their different approaches and the corresponding results.
Think of it this way: An employee has agreed to gather feedback in order to identify ways to improve the company’s services or products. While you may call each customer, perhaps this employee emails or shares a survey link. It’s an alternative approach for you, but one that may gather more information than hours of dialing.
But what if there’s absolutely no one you can delegate to in your business? First, we cry foul on that. And second, how about working with employees to develop their talents in specific areas? Help them get training and certifications. Plan their career within your company. Develop that talent!
I can hear you now—“Hey, I’m not made of money. How can I afford outsourcing?”
First, take a good look at what’s on your plate. Which tasks are the most time-consuming? Which ones represent the potential for landing new accounts or providing a better customer experience? Take the tasks at the bottom of the list—the relatively risk-free ones—and outsource.
You can book a virtual assistant to manage your calendar, set appointments, and make travel arrangements. If you need assistance with data entry, find resources online who can assist. Tasks like these come at an accessible price point.
Alternatively, you can identify outsourcing responsibilities that require a special skill. For example, if you spend a lot of time trying to keep your hardware and software running, perhaps you can outsource IT altogether. Or you can work with an accounting firm or bookkeeper to handle your books.
Outsourcing does require money, either a small amount or large depending on what needs to be done. However, weigh that cost against revenue opportunities. If you can land three new clients in three weeks with your extra time, that pays for outsourcing and more.
4. Consider non-human helpers.
Make sure you’re making the most of technology. Helpful features such as mobility, automation, and integrations can free up a spectacular amount of time for you.
Take a process like bill payment. It demands a lot of time and manual labor—especially if you still work with paper checks. When you migrate that process online and automate, you can cut that process time by 50%. But how? Systems like Bill.com leverage automation to guide a bill through the review process based on your company’s guidelines and parameters. It even reminds staff to look at bills and customers to pay. It eliminates all the manual back and forth normally associated with AP and AR.
Think about it: You can tap a few buttons on your smartphone and schedule a vendor ACH payment. You can get your hands on contracts and payment histories while in an airport. No more time-consuming tasks like hunting for paper invoices or signing checks and dropping them in the mail. And, if your business payments provider integrates with other accounting solutions, that saves you even more time!
Ready to win back more time?