When you started your business, chances are you did it with the intention of working with high-stress levels and not working long hours for the rest of your life. In an ideal world, many business owners would have the idea of building a business and then letting it run in the background without their full involvement.
The thing is, growing your business on your own can be stressful and is often the case where many businesses fail, but it is not that hard. You just have to learn to let go a little bit.
I know, your business is your baby, but you must understand that there are very few things in your business that really make sense to you.
After owning a business for nearly thirty years, here’s something I firmly believe to be true: Your business is worthless until it can operate without you, and the only way to operate it without you The way is delegation and outsourcing.
List all the tasks you currently perform in your business to begin your scaling process, which, if you are just starting out, can be very lengthy.
While this process can take a while, it means understanding what you can and should delegate. In the past, I’ve thought about it in two ways, so feel free to reach for whichever makes the most sense to you. The first approach is to categorize tasks into the following categories: work you hate, work you must do, and work you can’t.
For each task, ask yourself if you can get someone else to do it for less cost or with more output if you do it yourself. If the answer is yes, then you need to delegate that task to someone else.
Another approach is to add values to the work you need to do, such as $5, $50, $500, $5,000. The idea here is that some work you do has more value and is the work you should be paying attention to and some work has little value and it is the work that you should delegate.
Don’t underestimate the importance of outsourcing to someone who can do a much better job than you. My bookkeeping virtual assistant charges $65/hour, and while this may seem high to some people, it takes more time than it should be and wastes valuable time that I’m dealing with in my business with high-end fees. I can concentrate on the work of profit. Plus, I hate doing this kind of work, so overcoming the mental block to actually work takes a long time in itself.
develop systems and processes
Let’s be real, much of the success of your business lies in your chiefs of staff. So, what happens after they leave? Do they take your procedures with them? Ideally, no, as you should have documentation of these processes.
Now, just to warn you, this part takes a lot of time, but can save you an incredible amount of time in the long run. To effectively delegate and outsource, you should document your systems and processes so that others can refer to it. Why waste time training multiple VAs and employees when you can have everything for them to review?
You will need to adjust these documents occasionally, but apart from the initial development, this should really be working behind the scenes for you.
Using project management tools, such as Asana, is a great way to manage your delegated tasks and streamline your processes.
focus on what matters
Small business owners often get caught up in the day-to-day tasks (I’m talking tasks as pointless as taking out the trash for your business) and are easily distracted by these small tasks.
After you come up with your inventory, start making priorities and managing your days, weeks, months and even quarters based on doing the more high paying activities that you identified in the exercise described above.
It was a great day when I was able to put myself away and come up with a new product or service innovation, or prioritize work without interruption. In fact, even today, I turn off “John Focus Days” on my calendar so that my team knows those are the days when I’m in the zone and ideally not disturbed.
Business expansion goes like this: When daily tasks are outsourced and you can focus on the next stages of growth.
what you shouldn’t hand over
Now that you’ve made your list and commitment to delegate, you also need to figure out what you can’t delegate because there are definitely certain tasks that should fall under your assignment.
Even if you put together a terrific internal and outsourced team, there are some things small business owners shouldn’t delegate, including:
- Culture – Core Beliefs, Operations and Core Story are areas that you should continue to nurture and teach, no matter how large your staff becomes.
- Processes, overall strategy, and company vision – You should have an idea of where you are going and why you are moving there, as well as how you plan to get your business there.
- Customer Relations – Make sure you can interact with your employees on a day-to-day basis, but make sure you still show your face and have open communication with your customers. How your customers feel about your business and how they perceive the results they will achieve by working with you are very important to your business and should be protected and practiced by you.
- Hiring – As a small business owner, make sure you know who is working for you. When it comes to outsourcing and delegation, this component is important.
- Finance – You need to at least keep an eye on the financials and take the final decision on big expenses or investments. While I have the VA that handles the bookkeeping, I insist on staying on top of key performance indicators and managing money inside the business.
At the end of the day, for your business to truly grow, you must work to transform yourself in two key areas – doing real work that makes money and selling work that makes money. Do this, and you’ll be on your way to setting your business up for success.
If you liked this post, check out our guide to building a small business marketing consulting practice,
7 Steps to Grow Your Consulting Practice Without Adding Overhead
The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network Has Helped Me Grow My Business 40% in the last 12 months. ~ Michael Quinn – The Michael Quinn Agency, Fargo, ND