An entrepreneur wears multiple hats. Right from product to marketing to sales to customer service, it is common for you as an entrepreneur to cycle through these different functions every day. And if you are a first-time entrepreneur, the need to be involved in everything that happens at your company is overwhelming.
But that is a pitfall that you do not want to fall into. Ask any successful businessperson and they will tell you – you cannot do everything on your own. No matter how much you think you can and see yourself as the best person for the job. Rome was not built in a day and neither was it built by one person.
A lesson most often skipped by many entrepreneurs is the art of delegating. There is always that confidence that they will be able to do a task better than anyone else. While it might be true, it would be the least efficient manner to grow your business. And if there is one thing you can be, then be efficient. That’s what separates the great leaders from the rest.
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Why does delegating matter?
When you are a startup out of a garage, doing everything on your own works. In fact, it makes sense to do everything on your own. But once you build momentum and your business gains traction, it is no longer a wise move to hold onto control and try to do work on every aspect of the business.
As an entrepreneur and as the guiding leadership of your company, you need to focus on the big picture. You will need to be thinking about long-term growth strategies, seeking investments, and expanding your market cap.
Your time is valuable, and there is only as much work one can get done in the day. If you are caught up with executing the day-to-day stuff, you are no longer able to give any attention to activities that need executive decision-making. You can hire specific resources to help you and remote employees are a great way to delegate effectively.
When you delegate effectively, there is more work that gets done. It leads to faster growth and an increase in revenues. Studies directly relate the art of delegating to finding success as an entrepreneur and business leader. A Gallup study revealed that entrepreneurs and CEOs who delegate effectively see a 33% higher revenue than ones that don’t.
It is not like they don’t realize this. They know this is something they should do but just don’t.
But why do entrepreneurs find it difficult to delegate?
The same reason that makes them be perfectionists. Especially at the initial stages of the business, entrepreneurs have the need to stay in control and work on everything under the sun. They find it difficult to let go and let someone else work on a task.
In some instances, it could be that there is no one within the company to whom they can delegate to. Lack of resources and the time to find good ones play a role here. But what some entrepreneurs don’t realize is that they are doing more harm than good by not making the right hires to take over for specific tasks.
You will not be able to delegate successfully when your trust in your team is low. If you as an entrepreneur are not convinced of the capabilities of the people you are delegating to, then it is difficult to delegate to them.
Entrepreneurs treat delegating their work as an afterthought. Their ambitious mindset often tells them that they can do a task better than anyone else. So when the idea of delegation arises, they do it almost as a last resort.
And even when they do, it is often with fairly minimal or vague directions to the person assigned to the task. This is unintended but often places further barriers on the task being completed successfully and on time.
Overcoming the challenges to delegation
Just like almost everything else, delegation happens in baby steps. You don’t just offload everything in one day and expect the work to be done the way it is supposed to.
You start with delegating smaller tasks. You then monitor how each of the tasks is getting done. Over time, you build a level of trust in the people you are delegating to. Once you are more confident of their abilities and can trust them to get the work done, delegating will come far more easily to you.
The idea for delegation is that you have time to focus on the core concerns of your business. You need to prioritize the different work that needs to get done. Once you figure that out, you need to identify areas where your attention is needed the most and focus on those. For the others, you can systematically delegate to people who specialize in those areas.
There are literally hundreds of things that need to happen every single day at any business. You can’t do them all. And you shouldn’t either. Your end goal is far more superior for you to lose focus and work on the smaller things.
Your time is far more valuable than people who you delegate to. Every minute you spend doing something that you could have had someone else work on, it’s costing you real dollars and revenue.
Effective delegation in fact saves you money. It costs a lot more for you to work on a task than it does for an employee to do it. The whole point of building teams and different functions is that you can have people who are knowledgeable in those areas to work on them.
What smart delegation looks like
The most important aspect that will allow you to successfully delegate is the hiring of the right people for the job. You hire an expert to make use of their expertise. When you hire someone who has the know-how and skill to get work done, you can step back and focus on the core areas of growing your business.
It is important to hire the right person, and then ensure that they have all the resources to get the work done. It makes sense to provide them with the necessary training they need to be successful in their roles.
Over time, develop a standard delegation process that works for you and your team. Have systems in place where you can passively track the progress that is happening. This allows you to be aware of what’s going on, while at the same time not diverting your attention to the nitty-gritty of it.
Use any of the great project management tools available to you. This helps you in getting an overarching picture of everything that’s happening with each of your teams and employees.
As an entrepreneur and as someone your employees look to for direction, only work on things that cannot happen without you. If there is someone else who can do it, then it is better to let them. Even if they cannot do it as well as you would have, it is still better than you doing it. Because in that same time, you were able to work on something much more significant.
At the end of the day, it’s all about what helps your business grow. Every time you hesitate to delegate, think about the negative impact it will have on your business. Since you always think about what’s best for the company, delegation should be a no-brainer to you – as that is what’s best for your bottom line.
“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” - Andrew Carnegie, Scottish-American industrialist.