Ulysses S. Grant instructed William Sherman to seize Savannah; Nolan Bushnell hired Allan Alcorn to design Pong; Woodstock served as Snoopy's sidekick for years, faithfully performing any task that was asked. The point? Delegating works.
For entrepreneurs, delegating might not mean the difference between winning or losing a civil war, but it can mean the difference between your venture's success and failure.
So, consider the following benefits of delegating (or hire someone to consider them for you):
Delegating gives you the freedom to move on to the next opportunity. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said: "I delegated the areas I struggled with to people who also believed in the project. This freed up my time to focus on what I was good at." As founder of an entity that operates 400 enterprises, one thing he was good at was "finding the next businesses to start up."
His approach makes perfect sense: the more balls you have in the air the more likely you are to drop one or all of them. So, focus on what you are good at, hone in on the areas that are vital to your company, and delegate everything else. By getting more people involved in the juggling (including expert jugglers) fewer balls are likely to drop.
If you are struggling with relinquishing the reins, then start small. Pick something relatively insignificant. Delegate that today, but don't take it back, that task stays delegated. Commit to delegate another activity tomorrow (or the following week), and then another activity the day after that. Manage the delegates, not the activities. Alternatively, identify the tasks that you put off, either because you don't like them or aren't good at them -- those are perfect fodder for delegation.
Delegating increases team member engagement. While delegating small or undesirable tasks is a good start, you won't reap the full dividends until you learn to delegate the large and complicated duties.
When you delegate meaningful work to a subordinate, they feel more important, and are more likely to give that task their utmost effort. It's human nature. People have an innate desire to be needed and those who feel needed will always aim to perform at a higher level than people who feel ignored or taken advantage of.
Delegating empowers your employees, and an empowered employee is much more likely to engage with customers and coworkers, problem solve, turn in work that exceeds expectations and offer their opinions. They are also far less likely to spend their days staring out the window, checking TMZ and logging onto Facebook.
Delegating increases fresh ideas. Because delegating empowers your employees, it taps into their creativity, inventiveness and ingenuity. It urges them to bring new ideas to the table by making them feel a part of the business.
Delegating also saves you from performing non-influential tasks or performing them ineffectively; it gives you the ability to focus on what brought you this far in the first place: your concepts.
Delegating might not always save you frustration, it may not immediately increase your revenue tenfold, and it probably will initially add to your workload. However, over time, it will make your life easier, free up your busy day and maximize your odds to succeed.
Now, if there was only a way to delegate that visit to the in-laws.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.