When starting a small business, there are many actions that have to be taken by the advisor. It makes sense for the advisor to keep the reins in their own hand as the business gets off the ground. Getting any business started off and geared towards success takes a lot of effort and hard work. Once the business has been established, the advisor can take a backseat and reap the fruits of their initial labor.
More often than not, this doesn’t happen. The advisor usually retains control of the business. But, there comes a time when relinquishing some of that power is key to ensure the business keeps growing. Regardless of how hard you work, there are only 24 hours in a day. There is a limit to what an advisor, as an individual, can achieve while maintaining a life. Keeping an eye on the most trivial matters related to the business is not exactly the best way to utilize limited and valuable time.
Why Entrepreneurs Refrain from Delegation
Why are advisors apprehensive about delegating power? It’s a pertinent question. In a majority of the cases, they don’t think twice before delegating responsibility. Yet, authority is something they refrain from sharing with anyone. The only plausible reason behind this is that they believe they can do anything and everything. Granted, they have set up the business from scratch and are earning good money, but it doesn’t mean they don’t need any support or assistance whatsoever.
There is a superhuman feeling that comes with achievement. It is natural to believe you can conquer anything when you have been successful in all your conquests. Most entrepreneurs learn this lesson the hard way by experiencing failure for the first time. That isn’t the way you should understand the power of delegation. While learning from your mistakes definitely helps when running a business, avoiding those mistakes altogether is even better.
The What, When, How, and Who of Delegation
There is a right way to delegate and a wrong way. When done right, delegation contributes greatly to the growth and success of your business. Get it wrong and you will soon come to regret it. As with all business decisions, you need to weigh the pros and cons of delegating authority to any of your employees or associates. You need to have a clear answer to the four perennial questions: what, when, how, and who.
What to Delegate
You need to decide effectively which tasks are ideal for delegating. Start off with the easier tasks, and you can train an employee to take more responsibility and handle greater authority in the future.
Is the task going to have long-term implications for your business? As an advisor, you should devote your attention to tasks and decisions that affect the future growth of your business. You can first delegate the tasks that have short-term effects.
Most importantly, is the task of a recurring nature? If the task needs to be completed frequently or regularly, it would be wise to delegate it. Part of the delegation is that there are processes created for every aspect of the person’s job so that once you have trained someone, there is a list of processes and actual processes in place that anyone can follow should this person be on vacation, out ill, or get terminated. You don’t want to waste you valuable time training and then re-training. It is not efficient. All successful entrepreneurs have procedure manuals for every job in their firm.
When to Delegate
Just because delegation can help you grow your business doesn’t mean you should go about delegating anything and everything. You need to be selective, and here are a few tips that can help you make the decision:
- Is there any person on your team capable and qualified enough to take on the task? If yes, then go ahead.
- Would performing the said task lead to personal growth and development of the person’s skills? The benefits of delegation are nullified if the person doesn’t learn from it.
- Will you be able to supervise the task effectively, providing guidance and support? The employee you delegate the task to might have a few questions to ask, or you might need to train him or her.
How to Delegate
Delegation needs to be done properly to be successful.
- Lay out the task before the person. Also, clearly state your expectations and desired outcome for the task.
- Define boundaries of authority that the employee should not cross. Going beyond a certain level should require your approval.
- Always match responsibility with authority. Otherwise, the employee won’t be able to deliver the desired results.
- Discuss the task/project at length and the impact it could have on the business’ success. Also, provide a realistic timeline, budget, and deadline. Make it clear how flexible the deadline is or isn’t to ensure that there aren’t any issues. Provide the resources they would require.
- Stay in control by closely supervising the work done by the delegated individuals, offering your advice and guidance. Keep them on track to complete the task on time by emphasizing the deadlines.
If done improperly, delegation can be a problem rather than a solution.
Whom to Delegate To
Perhaps the most important question is whom should you delegate the task to. The factors you need to consider when making the decision are:
- Experience working in this field and with your company/business
- Ability to perform the desired task
- Level of independence with which that person works
- Amount of work being done by the said person—you shouldn’t overload an employee who is already working hard
- Impact of the delegation on the chosen employee and other employees in the department/office
Choosing the right person to delegate authority to takes a huge burden off your shoulders and frees you up to do the things that only you can do.
There is little doubt as to the efficacy of delegation towards contributing to the success of your business. You can devote your energies to the areas of the business that require your attention rather than trying to run a one-person show. At the same time, you should not forget the importance of doing it right to achieve greater success.