So, your business shows signs of growth, you can finally hire much-needed help, everything seems to go well, but you end up spending 15 hours in the office anyway. We’ve all been there, and when I say “we” I mean mostly "small business owners".
Of course, many supervisors, team leaders and managers have the same problem too. It’s typical for most people who start their businesses from scratch that they simply cannot easily let go of a need to control everything, and they get caught in the sneaky web of micromanagement.
If you think your productivity will suffer when you share responsibility with somebody, please think again. You can still stay on top of your company’s progress if you learn how to delegate effectively. Here is how:
1. Think and choose all the daily tasks that steal your time and hire somebody to do it for you. All administrative duties, IT, marketing, social media, proposal writing, data entry or customer support, all of those could be easily delegated or outsourced. If your budget is tight, you can still get some help for less by hiring a virtual office assistant for example (try Upwork or Freelancer).
2. If your company is growing rapidly, please, by all means, do hire a financial manager. No, you can’t be on top of this, unless one of your expertise is finances. I’ve seen it so many times – the owner (later CEO) believes he can handle (without strategic financial planning) all growing projects and budgets, and in fact, he does for about a year. But then, the party begins: problems with payrolls, tax office, accounts payable, and at the end – problems with solvency and liquidity. Please don’t go down that road, instead, hire someone with experience who knows exactly what he’s doing and you’ll be grateful later.
3. Be very careful who you hire. This is especially important for the first employees you bring on board. Besides skills, education and experience, check twice if this person is a good cultural fit for what you are trying to build. More importantly, look for the right attitude – look for people who are eager to make a difference, because those are the ones who will find the way to make things work, no matter what.
4. For each task you plan to delegate make clear procedures, policies and guidelines. Make sure that new working systems improve work quality as well.
5. Set up an open communication system, for example, weekly meetings, monthly video conferences or daily breakfast meetings, depending on how frequently you need to be in touch with your employees.
Needless to say, if you are a control freak (like certain people I know 🙂), you’ll find this process very painful and long. But you’ll realize at the end that you actually have no choice – you will either learn to let go and start building trust in your company and also learn how to motivate people (by this, I mean you give them a sense of autonomy), or you will end up leading a bunch of zombies who will eventually start looking for recognition elsewhere.
Delegating is a skill we all learn and improve over time. For some people, it comes naturally, while others must work hard to fight and beat their micromanagement issue. But, at the end of the day, everything pays off when you see your company grows more while you actually do less (at least administrative stuff anyway).
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