4 Tasks Successful Leaders Should Delegate
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Starting your own business is about more than just doing what you love -- it's about doing it on your own terms. Independent of their choice of industry, many entrepreneurs are drawn to the idea of being their own boss.
What they don't bargain for is how much they will have to deal with constant interruptions and tedious minutiae. The good news, however, is that you are the boss, and if you think something needs to change, there's no one holding you back from making that change.
So, though you may have started out handling everything from marketing to sales to web design, even with little experience in those areas, as your company grows, you need to spend less time in the weeds in order to focus on the big picture. The answer, of course, is delegation.
That means delegating tasks to new employees or outsourcing marketing or finance to an agency, even if you're hesitant to spend the cash. Michael Burdick, CEO and founder of Paro, which leverages technology and the gig economy to offer businesses on-demand accounting services, has said he understands how companies may be reticent to outsource tasks they can do themselves.
However, Burdick noted in Geoworld magazine that it's a worthwhile investment. "It's hard enough to bring an idea to fruition and turn a profit," he wrote, "but entrepreneurship becomes infinitely more challenging when you're mentally fried while trying to grow your company." Delegating frees up your schedule and allows you to focus your energy where it's needed, he added.
Fortunately, there are options for outsourcing. According to the McKinsey report Independent Work: Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy, as many as 162 million people in the United States and Europe are working independently in some way. So you have your choice of people to provide just the help you need -- though of course some areas are more easily outsourced than others.
Whether you outsource by hiring an employee, leaning on new tech tools or using an independent contractor or agency, here are four areas in which letting go will do your business a world of good:
1. Let creatives create.
More and more creatives are freelancing, which can offer your business big benefits. According to Deloitte, only a minority of full-time employees feel passionate about their work, while the other 88 percent are just there to make a living and go home.
Working with a freelancer means you can find someone who's the right fit for your particular project; this is key, because, to echo a Harvard Business School working paper, entrusting projects to passionate workers increases your chances of seeing high-quality results.
Adam Tompkins, co-founder of Working Not Working, which connects creative freelancers and businesses seeking services, explained, "By browsing portfolios and interviewing for specific projects, you can identify the passions of certain creatives, their preferred industries and whether they tend to produce strong work for brands similar to yours."
Besides receiving a finished product that stands out, you save both time and money from your interaction with a freelancer, making a double win for you both.
2. Keep your systems up and running.
Between addressing security concerns and meeting regulatory requirements, IT is more complex than ever. Many businesses hire a few full-time individuals with a general knowledge base, but in some industries, that move is no longer enough to meet the necessary standards.
IT outsourcing providers offer a full suite of capabilities without the full-time salary and benefits an internal IT team requires. Steve Hall, partner with the Information Services Group sourcing consultancy, has pointed out on Cio.com, "Organizations are rapidly transforming to agile enterprises that require rapid development cycles and close coordination between business, engineering and operations. ... Global delivery requires a globally distributed agile process to balance the need for speed and current cost pressures."
3. Handle the email onslaught virtually.
Have you ever thought about the cumulative amount of time over weeks, months and years you spend responding to emails? As a business leader, this is rarely a good use of your time. Email isn't the sole culprit, either. Scheduling appointments and meetings can also cause you to get bogged down, especially when you have a growing team of employees.
One of the best ways to regain control and optimize your time is to hire a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are a cost-effective way to outsource the administrative tasks that inevitably pile up on your to-do list.
That said, lifestyle entrepreneur Tomas Laurinavicius has cautioned in Entrepreneur, "Many times, the first experience with a virtual assistant is negative because there is a learning curve that you (and the VA) will need to conquer."
Start by building up the relationship and training your VA to do the repetitive tasks that must be performed on a daily basis before moving on to more complex and involved assignments.
4. Mind your company's legal P's and Q's.
Companies have been forking over huge legal fees for decades because there used to be no alternative. Now it's becoming increasingly common for businesses to hire legal-process outsourcing companies, many of which are located overseas. These companies perform work at a drastically reduced rate, allowing businesses to simply have a domestic legal advisor give his or her stamp of approval.
According to Integreon CEO Robert Gogel, there are good reasons why outsourcing in the legal industry is booming: "Outsourcing has long had a bad rap from misperceptions about quality, security, and of course, that ever-popular political football: jobs," Gogel wrote in Huffington Post. "But in business management circles, its benefits are more fully appreciated, and can include opening up new markets, increasing efficiency, reducing costs and gaining comparative advantage."
As a business owner, you can't possibly do everything -- and you need to not only accept that fact but embrace it. Getting qualified help in the above areas will ultimately set up your business for far greater success than you'll achieve if you try to go it alone.