Want to grow your small business? Then you need to learn how to delegate. Small business owners tend to be “take-charge” types who like to do things themselves, but if you don’t delegate some tasks, your business will never grow. What’s more, delegating is essential to retaining employees, because it gives your team a chance to learn new skills and expand their horizons.
So how can you get started delegating? Here are some tips.
- Decide what duties you can delegate and which you need to keep. In general, you can keep tasks that are high-value, that can only be done by you, and that you enjoy. (Use common sense, though—you might enjoy answering the phones at your business, but is that the best use of your time?) Delegate duties that are lower-value, that you don’t enjoy, or that you aren’t good at (whether that’s bookkeeping or sales).
- Decide whom to delegate to. If you’re expanding your business, you may want to take elements you used to handle and farm them out to key employees. For instance, it might be time to hand off sales duties to a newly hired in-house sales manager. If your business is smaller but you still need to delegate, the solution might be as simple as hiring a part-time or virtual assistant to take over things like scheduling, answering phones and handling email and invoicing.
- Provide training. If you’re like most hands-on business owners, you’ll want to train the person yourself. Think through systems and procedures for how the person should handle recurring tasks. It’s a good idea to put this in writing as a foundation for training future employees as your company grows.
- Don’t micromanage. While you do want to provide the employee with the basics of how to do the task, once you’ve shown them what to do, let them handle it on their own. Yes, they will make some mistakes, but if you quickly correct the errors, they’ll learn from the mistakes—and maybe even find new and better ways of handling things than the way you used to do it.