A hectic lifestyle is all part and parcel of the entrepreneur's journey. While determination and ambition are positive traits, there's no need to subject yourself to 18-hour workdays—this is a boundary that nobody should have to cross. After all, you're only human, and there is a limit to what you can physically and mentally achieve.
When you expand your business, you will eventually find yourself unable to cope by yourself. Unless you start delegating specialist tasks to subordinates or freelancers, your business could collapse.
As your client base grows, so will your workload, and if you can't perform, you'll lose business. Working harder and faster isn't always the most viable or cheapest option.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the average worker spends 41 percent of working hours on discretionary activities that could be handled by others. Imagine what you could accomplish with all that extra time.
These delegation tips will help you manage growth and scale accordingly, ensuring your business's prosperity doesn't outpace its abilities.
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Watch Out for Tell-Tale Signs
Working hard is just who you are; it's a part of your daily routine. When you're not struggling it may feel like you're not giving it your all, but work shouldn't always have to feel like an uphill battle.
If it does, you may be hoarding the workload without even realizing. Excessive hours, the feeling of total indispensability and a lack of time to focus on expansion are tell-tale signs that you're burning out—especially if nobody else in your workforce feels the same way.
In addition, keep a watchful eye on your deadlines. Regularly missing targets either means you're setting over-ambitious goals or haven't got the time and resources to handle the work. If this is the case, you might need to scale back and push forward at a slower pace.
Understand Why You Don't Delegate
Are you a perfectionist who lives by the mantra, “if you want something done right, do it yourself?" Perhaps deep down you're afraid that a subordinate will upstage your performance? Nobody—no matter how much self-control they have— is immune to these biases.
Take a step back and assess whether or not there's a deeper issue lurking beneath the surface. Accepting that you can't do everything yourself is admirable; not a sign of weakness. A good delegator knows that they can't accomplish everything by themselves.
Non-delegators find it difficult to relinquish control, which often leaves them lost in the general day-to-day operations of their business and unable to focus on growth.
Outsource the Skills You Don't Have
Many specialist tasks, such as bookkeeping, accountancy and search engine optimization, require a unique skillset. Outsourcing to experts can free up your time so you can refine your focus on revenue-generating activities instead.
The digital domain has streamlined the outsourcing process. There's no longer a stigma associated with stay-at-home professionals. In fact, many large corporations are even beginning to acknowledge the benefits—Google, Virgin and Microsoft all actively encourage their employees to work remotely.
Freelancers often have little overheads; therefore, they can perform the same service as established businesses, but at a cheaper rate. Just keep in mind that freelancers come and go. There's nothing to say they'll stick by your side after their contract ends. When you have long-term needs, sometimes having someone on payroll is more viable.
While it's a scary prospect, it's a natural progression.
Resist the Urge to Micromanage
Micromanagement is like backseat driving; it's annoying, patronizing and unnecessary. If you delegate properly you shouldn't have to keep a watchful eye over your staff and they should be able to complete assigned tasks without interference. Just remember, while their process may be different to yours, it doesn't mean that it's wrong or less productive.
Manage by all means, after all, delegating doesn't abdicate your responsibility, but be careful not to overstep the mark.
In a survey about micromanagement conducted by Robert Half's Accountemps company, 60 percent of participants said that they had experienced overbearing bosses in the past; 55 percent of the 60 percent admitted that their productivity decreased as a direct result; and 68 percent said it dampened their morale.
In short, micromanaging is not only a huge waste of time, but could significantly hinder job performance.
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Make Sure Your Employees Have the Correct Resources
There's growth from a business perspective, and growth from a personal perspective; you must acknowledge both.
Most of your employees will have professional goals, so nurture them by making sure that they have adequate resources and learning opportunities. A good delegator will foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. Nobody gets it right the first time—just think about all of the mistakes that you've made on the job.
Rather than giving up on employees and taking the reins for yourself if they make a mistake, provide a constant flow of constructive feedback about what works and what doesn't. Help your workers grow and they'll help your business grow.
Only Experiment When the Stakes Are Low
You can't master the art of delegation over night. Eventually you'll have to take the plunge and entrust somebody you haven't tried and tested in the past. But, only experiment when you can afford to take a chance.
For example, if you have a valued long-term assignment that you can outsource, give yourself enough time to cleanup the project if it comes back wrong. If the worker makes it through without any hiccups, you know you can trust them with something more sensitive in the future.
On the other hand, if you're trying to secure a new client and have a tight schedule to keep, assign the task to someone you can trust, or do it yourself. Eventually, you'll learn exactly who will deliver.
Avoid the Tasks You Genuinely Despise
Procrastination is often a direct result of boredom. Not everything in business will excite you when you sit down at your desk and start working.
While you may lay awake at night wondering how to design a new product or distribute profits, you probably won't get too hyped about making cold calls and updating the accounts. Of course, you'll have to engage in some mind-numbingly boring activities every once in a while, but if it's something that significantly slows down your operation, give it to someone else.
Delegating menial tasks to free up time will help you refine your focus. In addition, consider delegating activities that directly enhance revenue. For example, if you hire a salesman to front your business or a virtual assistant to make your cold calls, their expenses could be offset by the work they secure—sometimes it just takes money to make money.
Good business is about the outcome, not the process. Delegation gives you a chance to leverage your team so you can work more productively and deliver better results—it's really that simple! Every day you grow and fail to scale your business accordingly, you're enhancing the risk.
Spending money on tasks that you've accomplished yourself in the past may seem painful, but it's just another inevitability of expansion.