Delegation in Business
Learning How to Delegate Is Important for Business Owners
When you delegate, you empower someone else to act for you. The act of delegation, then, involves conferring (some of) your functions or powers on another so he or she can act on your behalf.
You can see from the definition why delegation is so problematical for so many small business people; delegating involves giving some control away. Couple that with the fact that many business people believe that no one else is going to do it (whatever it is) as well as they do it, and you have a group that's very resistant to delegation.
Delegation is a critical skill for small business success, however. It is not uncommon for owners of startup businesses to try to do it all themselves, but no one can be good at everything, and running a small business involves so many different tasks and skills that as the business grows some sort of division of labor becomes necessary for the business to prosper.
What Is the Difference Between Delegating and Outsourcing?
Other ways you could divide the labor include getting a partner, hiring employees, and outsourcing. What’s the difference between delegation and outsourcing? Semantics, mainly. Outsourcing involves purchasing goods or subcontracting services from an outside company. The word isn’t freighted with the idea of giving up control. In practice, delegation and outsourcing are often indistinguishable.
What Are Some Typical Tasks a Business Owner Can Delegate?
- Accounting and bookkeeping: There are a number of excellent online small business accounting packages that can simplify your accounting and bookkeeping and as a business owner you should always have a good grasp of the overall financials. But if you are not comfortable maintaining your basic business financial records you should use the services of a bookkeeper and/or accountant. The same goes for tax preparation. If you are running a corporation and don't wish to learn the ins and outs of preparing and submitting corporate tax returns why not leave it to the professionals?
- Custom website design/development and maintenance: Unless you are in the tech business or have significant experience with web design and development you should hire a professional to design your custom website. Aside from artistry, a good business website needs intuitive design and advanced search engine optimization. Your website is often the face of your business, and a poorly-designed, amateurish-looking website will turn off potential customers very quickly.
- Social media marketing: As with website design unless you are thoroughly familiar with social media marketing you might consider delegating these activities. A good social media marketing campaign needs a plan and requires significant knowledge of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
- Customer service: Once your business reaches a certain size you should not be the first person to answer the phone for customer questions or complaints or be making calls to customers to schedule appointments. However, the importance of customer service to your business success cannot be overstated and it is critical to hire the right people to deal with customers.
- Shipping and receiving: If your business routinely takes and ships product orders and/or receives goods you should delegate the associated tasks such as packing/unpacking, labeling, etc. If you are running a family business some of these tasks might be ideally suited to children of an appropriate age.
- Tech support: Even if you are knowledgeable about tech, should you really be spending time fixing a Windows crash on an employee's computer, refilling printer cartridges, or dealing with a Wi-Fi issue in your office? Most businesses have a need for IT support services, if only on an irregular basis, so having a reliable tech support service available when needed is important. A good tech service company can also provide advice on new technologies that can help your business grow and/or save you time and money.
- Travel arrangements: If your activities as a business owner require a lot of travel you may want to delegate the tasks of flight and hotel reservations to a travel agent. Yes, there are many online booking sites where you can make your own reservations but the bewildering number of options can make booking a complex trip hugely time-consuming. Why not have an expert do the research for you?