Do Less and Accomplish More By Learning to Delegate

Learning to Delegate: Do Less and Accomplish More

Do you believe, "If you want something done right, do it yourself?" Are you the "chief cook and bottle washer" at your company because you don't trust anyone else to do the job as well as you can? Many entrepreneurs are successful because they know how to take charge, they're passionate about making sure their company succeeds, and they don't mind putting in long hours to get the work done.

But the very traits that make you successful as a business owner can sabotage your efforts to succeed by making it harder for you to delegate responsibility. The sad truth is, there are only so many hours in a day, and there's only so much work one person can do, no matter how dedicated they are. If you want your business to grow, you can't do it all yourself.

  • Why Delegate?

    As a business owner, it's your job to create your company's strategic vision and make sure it gets communicated to your team. You set the core values for the company and safeguard the integrity of your brand. You set the goals and monitor your progress toward those goals. Those are your principal duties. If you're neglecting them because you're spending all your time on nonessential tasks, you're short-changing your company. Prioritizing how you spend your valuable time is the first step toward long-term success.

    Delegating some of your tasks can also help you avoid burnout. It's important to keep a positive attitude and communicate it to your team, and to think clearly enough to develop new ideas and react quickly to opportunities. If you're burning the candle at both ends, you won't have the mental and physical stamina to perform at your best.

  • What to Delegate?

    As the saying goes, "Keep your eyes on the prize." Focus is essential for success in both sports and business. Olympic athletes concentrate on their sport single-mindedly for years, giving up other opportunities to focus on what they really want most. Once you’ve set a goal for your business, give it your all. As you start each business day, ask yourself what you can do that day to get closer to your goal, and refuse to be distracted by unimportant tasks.

  • Low-value tasks

    Don’t spend your valuable time filing, creating reports, or doing other tedious tasks that could be done by an hourly employee.

  • Things that are out of your wheelhouse

    If you don't know accounting or IT, it makes sense to hire someone who does, instead of trying to learn an entirely new area of expertise. This is especially important for jobs that can have legal repercussions if done incorrectly: payroll, legal filings, taxes, etc.

  • Jobs that drain your energy

    If you hate a particular job and doing it makes you feel depressed or frustrated, hand it off to someone else. It’s important to safeguard your attitude so you can continue to drive forward and inspire your team.

  • How to Get Started

    When setting up a household budget, the first step is recording all your expenses to see where your money goes. The same principle applies when trying to budget your time wisely. Review your calendar and your to-do lists to see where your time is going. Then:

  • Identify a few tasks that can be offloaded to someone else so you can concentrate on more important projects. Start small to give yourself and your staff a chance to get used to the new system.
  • Find the right person to handle the task, whether it’s an outside resource like a CPA or one of your own staff. Make sure they have not only the skillset but also the temperament to handle the additional duties.
  • If you're handing off a job to one of your team members, make sure to explain it in enough detail so they'll feel comfortable taking over. It may be best to have them shadow you for a while and carefully observe what you're doing and how you do it.
  • Communicate clearly. Make sure they know why the job is important, what the end result should be, how you expect it to be done, and what the timeline is. Also, communicate the new assignment to the rest of the team so they can offer assistance if necessary.
  • Provide whatever equipment or supplies they need, including software, additional workspace, etc.
  • The hardest part comes next: let go, hand it over, and try not to fret about it. This is easier if you remembered to start with a low-value task that won't cause a disaster if it's not done properly.
  • "Trust, but verify." Set up a schedule to monitor your employee's progress, especially in the beginning. Having a schedule in place before the task is delegated will reassure you that the work is being done as planned, and will reassure the employee that you won't be swooping in unannounced to try to catch them in an error.
  • Be flexible. Leave some room for the new person to exercise their own judgment and apply their own methods for completing the task. Since everyone has a different way of approaching problems, you may discover that their way is more efficient!
  • Once you've started the process of offloading a few small tasks, keep going and see how much time you can free up by adding more jobs to the list.
  • The final step in the process is to decide how to make the best use of the time you’ve saved. There’s nothing wrong with deciding to re-balance your work-life since many entrepreneurs put their family and their personal lives on hold while they’re building a business. However, you may find those extra hours at work can be used for strategic planning, networking, attending educational conferences, or other high-level duties you didn’t have time for when you were busy doing everything yourself.

Tasks Commonly Delegated by Business Owners

Business owners commonly delegate the following tasks to others either inside their own companies' personnel or to outside businesses or independent contractors:

  • Forming a Corporation or Filing an LLC

    One of the most important tasks an entrepreneur can delegate is one of the first steps in successfully starting a business, creating a legally recognized business entity such as an LLC or corporation. Delegating the tasks associated with creating a business entity to an expert can save business owners precious time and energy while also preventing potential future issues. InCorp provides formation and incorporation services and can complete the entire process in an expedient and professional manner while meeting all legal requirements, creating business entities that provide essential liability protections for businesses. To learn more about the pros and cons of the various business entity types, please view our page, Compare Entity Types. Additionally, InCorp offers assistance in managing your corporation or LLC through our entity management system and iOS app. These services can help you keep track of due dates and important documents, manage reports, etc., reducing the effort you or your staff will have to put in to perform these duties.

  • Bookkeeping

    Managing and preparing your company's financial records can be a time-consuming and monotonous responsibility but also one of the most important to get right. This makes it one of the best tasks for your business to outsource. While you could hire an in-house bookkeeper or delegate this task to an existing staff member, in general, hiring a professional bookkeeping service can save you money and produce better and more accurate results. In addition to saving on staffing costs, you can also free up your or your employees' time to perform other tasks within the company. Professional bookkeepers will generally have access to better bookkeeping technology and resources while committing fewer errors in the process. Furthermore, an internal bookkeeper could also expose you to the risks of small business fraud, which will not help your bottom line.

  • Accounting

    Similar to bookkeeping, accounting: analyzing financial records, preparing for taxes, etc., can be a tedious and intensive process. Therefore, accounting is frequently outsourced by small businesses to professional accountants. Professional accountants can use their expertise to help you not only minimize your tax burden but can also provide professional assistance in a number of other financial areas.

  • Registered Agent Services

    All businesses that are recognized as legal entities by the state are required to have a registered agent. A registered agent receives official mail from the state, such as tax documents and requests for company filings and reports. Registered agents also receive SOP (service of process) if someone should bring a lawsuit against your company. Having a registered agent protects due process and ensures important notices are received. Some business owners choose to use an in-house employee or be their own registered agent, but this presents a list of challenges.

    Registered agents must be available at a designated address at all times during standard business hours to ensure that important documents will be received. In order to comply with these regulations, the mobility of a small business owner who is their own registered agent would be severely limited, or if they have an in-house employee performing this duty, that staff member designated as their registered agent would also need to meet these requirements. Alternatively, hiring a registered agent service to fulfill this role for your company will free up a business owner's or their employees' time and mobility while keeping your company in compliance with the law. Additionally, a company's designated registered agent will have their name and address where they will receive notices listed publicly. This publicly listed information can threaten your privacy and open you up to unwanted solicitations or negative attention. By using a registered agent service, the provider of this service will be designated publicly as your registered agent and will provide the official address that will be publicly listed as well.

    Using a registered agent service ensures you will receive important mail regarding your business and will be notified in a professional and prompt manner. By hiring a registered agent service, you will grant your business a level of convenience, freedom, and privacy that it may not otherwise have. You will also be able to rest assured that this important aspect of your business is being handled responsibly by a professional service specializing in this area.

InCorp proudly offers registered agent services that can meet these needs in all 50 U.S. states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Web Design

    While there are many excellent "plug and play" do-it-yourself web design platforms out there, hiring a professional web designer to build your website may be a better idea. Building and managing your own website can give you a lot of personal control regarding how you design and update your website, but gaining a decent level of proficiency in this area can require a significant investment of your time, and there is no guarantee that you will get it right. Hiring a quality web designer can ensure that your website invokes a professional impression within your audience. Your customers' perception of your company's level of professionalism is important and can go a long way to help legitimize your business in their eyes. Therefore, hiring a professional web designer is a great way to help cement a positive reputation with your customer base and target audience. A skilled web designer will be able to convert your needs and ideas into a uniquely customized website that utilizes effective SEO strategies to get your site ranked higher in the search engines and gain more traffic.

  • Marketing

    Implementing good marketing strategies can be one of the most influential factors as to whether a business reaches a certain level of desired success or not. Ineffective branding and marketing can fail to capitalize on emphasizing the unique characteristics a company brings to the table that sets them apart from the competition. You may have a great product or service, but if your marketing fails to communicate the value you offer and how you will meet your customers' needs, you may struggle to grow or survive as a business. Few things can be as frustrating or disheartening to small business owners as pumping valuable financial resources into ineffective ad campaigns that fail to convert sales and gain the company revenue. Therefore, delegating your marketing to either an in-house employee specializing in marketing or to an outside agency is a good idea.

    Hiring a marketing professional or agency will cost money upfront, but it is one of the best investments you can make in your business. Professional marketers can use their expertise to help your company develop a consistent brand image and generate new business leads. Over time this investment should pay for itself and help your company grow. Business owners that do their own marketing may lack the know-how to do so effectively and can end up spinning their wheels. In addition, poor marketing can make businesses lose their competitive edge to companies that do outsource and invest in their marketing. With these factors taken into consideration, marketing is one of the more important aspects of your business that you should consider delegating to a marketing professional or agency.

  • Customer Service

    Handling customer service issues and communications properly is an essential part of successfully operating a business and building a good reputation. However, it can be time-consuming to stay on top of it all. Troubleshooting issues with customers, tracking packages, and back-and-forth communications can take a considerable amount of time and, if performed by the business owner themselves, can take away from other areas of the business. Therefore, delegating these tasks to designated individuals within your company can save you time and, in the long run, will help you earn more money. Properly training an employee or employees in handling customer service communications and issues will help free up business owners to pursue other important tasks regarding their business.

    By having dedicated customer service representatives, a company can ensure that their customers' needs and inquiries will be met in an appropriate and timely manner. Even if your customer service representatives have other responsibilities in the company, you can have them dedicate a certain amount of time per day to customer service issues or address issues as they arise. This will go a long way in meeting your customers' needs and solidifying your reputation as a reliable company. A business owner who is trying to do everything by themselves can be spread very thin and may have to choose between responding to customer service issues and other pressing and time-sensitive matters the company is involved in. Not promptly responding and handling customer service issues can make your company look unprofessional and insensitive to the concerns of its customers. Therefore, by delegating email, phone, and live chat correspondence with customers to others within the company, business owners can put their best foot forward in customer service relations while also freeing themselves up to attend to other tasks and concerns.

  • Social Media Management

    Social media has become a critical component in today's business world, so much so that you wouldn't be too far off if you called it a necessity. A solid social media presence can greatly impact a company's visibility, reach, customer base, and overall profitability. But with everything a business owner has to contend with, keeping up with social media and posting every day can be a challenge, let alone being able to actually maximize the potential that is available to businesses on the various social media platforms. Hiring a social media expert instead of managing your social media accounts yourself is a good idea for a variety of reasons.

    Social media platforms and their algorithms are constantly changing. What worked last month may no longer produce the same results this month. People specializing in social media management will keep up to date with these changes and adjust their strategies accordingly. They will also know the various platforms' ins and outs and how to use them effectively. Frequent posting is also something that will help your brand. An employee specializing in social media management will be able to generate engaging and diverse content and post this content frequently and consistently. Social media managers can use social media scheduling tools, which will allow them to generate a large number of posts in one sitting and schedule the times that they will be posted, allowing your company to make posts continually around the clock.

    Additionally, for social media to be effective, it requires engagement. A news story or TikTok video will not go viral unless people are talking about it. Having someone on your team who will engage consistently with your audience on social media will keep your company and products or services continually in conversation with social media users. This engagement includes replying to comments on posts and responding to direct messages to your company's various social media pages. Social media managers can also provide larger insights to your company as a whole regarding what type of messaging and content garners the most positive feedback in addition to the overall landscape and trends on social media concerning your specific niche. For these reasons and more, delegating your social media management to a specialist is a good investment in your company and one that will save you time. Social media management expertise can broaden your audience, increase your company's visibility, and strengthen your reputation while generating new leads that convert to sales.

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