The idea of becoming a small business owner appeals to many – especially those striving to be their own boss. But many small business owners discover that it isn’t always easy to manage a business. The number of to-do’s an entrepreneur must tackle can start to add up and become overwhelming. Without delegation, some small business owners may run the risk of burning out.
“Delegation is one of the keys to success as your organization grows,” says John Rampton, a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of invoicing company, Due. “You can’t do everything, and if you try to do it all yourself, you are more likely to fail.”
How to Delegate Effectively as a Small Business Owner
“The first thing you should do is figure out what you absolutely have to do, and what others can handle,” says Rampton. “There are a number of mundane tasks that small business owners don’t have to take care of, and that someone else might be able to do.” He points out that an entrepreneur is more likely to be able to focus on big picture items and growing their business when s/he isn’t distracted by endless day to day tasks that others could handle.
Tom Drake, the owner of Canadian company, Drake media, agrees. “When I tried to do everything myself, I got slowed down. Things changed when I looked at all the tasks I was doing and identified the items that someone else could do just as effectively or maybe even more effectively.”
Start by reviewing all of the tasks you engage in during your business day. Which items are taking up more of your time? Some tasks that both Rampton and Drake recommend delegating to others include:
- Social media management
- Accounting, payroll, and bookkeeping
- Content creation (memos, blog posts, press releases, and other items)
- Web design and development
- Scheduling appointments
- Administrative tasks like following up with clients, data entry, travel arrangements, and email management
It may also be helpful to delegate the management of employee benefits to a broker or partner.
Not every business owner will delegate each of these tasks. Consider which items seem to take up most of your time and hold you back from taking care of more essential tasks that only you can complete.
How to Delegate Tasks to Others
There are resources available to help you delegate tasks as a small business owner.
First of all, it helps to build a good team. “Look for people who can fill in the gaps,” Rampton suggests. “While you can hire some employees to help with certain tasks, technology has made it much easier and less expensive to outsource some tasks. Use freelancers and virtual assistants to help with some of your content creation, social media, and web design.”
Rampton says websites like UpWork and Guru can help you find talent for a variety of tasks, and that resources like freelance job boards can also help you find qualified team members, either as permanent employees or freelancers.
While Drake partners with others to assign certain tasks to freelancers and assistants, he also uses a number of productivity tools and apps to help him delegate. For example, calendar software is a must for cutting down on the number of emails sent to schedule meetings.
There are also several invoicing apps and accounting software available that can reduce the amount of time spent on these activities without the need to hire a team of bookkeepers and accountants. Programs like Due, Xero, and Freshbooks can help you track hours, set up automatic billing, and manage recurring invoices. These programs integrate with Quickbooks, allowing you to quickly create reports and get tax information.
Social media management software and scheduling apps can help manage online marketing campaigns. Tools like HootSuite and Edgar allow you to send bulk social media postings, or plan and coordinate campaign postings ahead of time. They also automatically post new information to various platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, so you don’t have to take the time to do so.
“These tools help me delegate tasks without the need to hire additional people or manage more freelancers,” Drake says. “It’s a good way to help me manage my time so that I can focus on the most important business tasks I have on my plate.”
There are some activities that you have to do on your own as an entrepreneur. But if you want to thrive as your small business grows, you might need to learn how to delegate. You can’t grow your business alone. Savvy entrepreneurs know they need to spread the responsibilities to achieve sustainable success.
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