Let Go like a Pro! Delegate

Every successful entrepreneur or small business owner, even sole-trader has realised at some point on their journey that in order to be successful, they have to delegate certain tasks. If this is new to you read on to find out how to get started.

Why you should delegate

Firstly, let's address why it's important to delegate. Quite simply - you CAN'T do EVERYTHING, and nor should you. Delegating will empower your team (if you have one) and free up your time so you can focus on doing the thing that makes you money.

What should you delegate?

Start by identifying the tasks that don't really need your skills to complete:

  • Small tasks that don't take up much time, and don't add much value - logging customer details into your CRM, recording expenses, co-ordinating your diary for example.

  • Repetitive tasks that rinse and repeat

  • Time consuming activities that take a lot of time - these can often be broken down into several smaller tasks, and all or some can be delegated elsewhere

  • Do you do anything that you can easily teach someone else how to do - such as putting together a quote or invoice, or regularly updating a page on your website

  • Tasks you really hate, or don't have the expertise to do well. These probably take you longer than they should because you put them off and aren't focussed on them. Delegating or outsourcing this type of task will probably save you money as it will take someone else less time to do it.

  • £0 tasks. These are tasks that don't earn you any money and prevent you from working on your business.

Who to delegate to?

Now you've identified what you can delegate, you need to find the right person to delegate too. This may differ depending on the tasks, and if you're a sole trader you may be wondering how you delegate! If you don't have a team, or any capacity in your team an effective solution is to outsource. Ensuring you delegate the task to the right person is important, otherwise you could end up dissatisfied with the outcome. You'll need to establish the person you're handing over to has the skills required to do the job - this will make you feel more confident about handing the task over too.

Making sure it's done right

Once you've found the right person, it's not enough to simply hand a task over to someone and expect it to be done how you want it. The task should be handed over with clarity. As always, effective communication is key. You'll need to prepare detailed instructions, which include an outline of your expectations re time frames, and quality. If it's a complex task, perhaps you could record a training video that the person can re-watch if necessary.

Finally, you should also ensure they have all the tools they'll need to do the job well. If you haven't ticked all these boxes it's likely the task won't be completed to your satisfaction and both you and your delegate will feel disappointed and frustrated.

Don't be a helicopter boss!

It's important you're confident the work is being completed how you want it, so check in regularly, but once you've handed the task over, with clear instructions, let your delegate get on with the job in hand and don't try to micro-manage as this can be counter productive. Let them know they can ask you for help when they need to, and encourage them to own the new tasks. If you've selected the right person with the right skillset and expertise they will be able to do the work confidently and should be able to run with it solo after a few attempts.

Providing feedback

Give feedback early on and provide guidance or additional training if it's required. Listen to the ideas your delegate may have on how to approach the work - a fresh pair of eyes is an opportunity to identify improvements and efficiencies. It's also important to provide feedback to ensure the work is done to your satisfaction and to clearly communicate whether there are any performance improvement required.

Communication continues to be vital for as long as you are going to delegate work. Don't expect the relationship to be perfect immediately - as with any relationship you'll need to work at it and establish appropriate parameters for it to be successful. Be honest, constructive and fair, and you won't go far wrong.

Finally, delegating is a sign that you have recognised the value you carry in your business, and where your time is best spent. For more guidance download the Essential Guide to Working with a VA - it will help you get your thoughts in order and effectively prepare tasks for delegation - whether that's to a VA or someone on your team.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this information, My Office Fairy Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions and the information is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.

If you need support with anything discussed above, or any other aspect of your business, My Office Fairy are here to help so get in touch.

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