Why You Must Delegate and Let Go to Scale Your Business
At what point should a business owner stop thinking that they can do it all? Should you even think that in the first place?
In a small business, delegation involves sharing the workload and responsibilities between you and your team members. It’s because of this transfer of power and control that gives some business owners problems with delegating.
It’s important to be confident and capable of running your small business. But this often results in you believing you can do everything better than anyone else. And while it’s important for you to be knowledgeable about every aspect, it’s actually not true that you’re the best person for every job.
If your long-term goals include scaling your business (and it should), then it’s crucial you learn how to delegate effectively. Knowing when to let go and allowing your staff to handle different responsibilities and problems will let you focus on more important aspects.
Why it’s important to delegate in a small business
According to Small Business Trends, 20% of businesses fail in their first year. But business owners with delegation skills have a higher chance of overcoming those odds. It goes on to mention that a lack of delegation can lead to “decision fatigue,” which results in a business owner becoming either of the following:
- A paralysed overthinker – They are indecisive and unable to make important decisions.
- An overwhelmed hothead – They become more easily frustrated and defensive because they’re handling too much work.
- An immediate-satisfaction seeker – They take impulsive and often unwise shortcuts because they can only prioritise short-term goals.
Delegating is important in scaling your small business. When you’re transitioning from a $20,000 revenue a month to $50,000 a month, your business will also transition to handling a different set of problems. Eventually, you’ll have more customers whose demands must be met. You’ll need to implement new marketing strategies to achieve growth. Handling more complex finances also takes up time and energy that, for a business owner, are better used elsewhere.
In other words, if you don’t delegate and let go of your $20,000-worth problems to deal with your $50,000-worth ones, you’ll experience burnout and eventually lose all the ground you just gained. As a business owner, shifting your mindset is essential to move from one level to the next.
In fact, delegation can actually increase your revenue and productivity, according to research conducted by Harvard Business Review. Delegating allows you to handle more complex tasks as your business grows and encounters new sets of challenges.
Knowing how to delegate allows your team to be better equipped in taking care of your business, too. By hiring the right people, you will find it easier to trust them and delegate important tasks in the long run.
So, how do you know if you’re delegating or not?
5 signs you’re not delegating enough (or, at all)
These are the top five signs that a business owner has trouble delegating to their staff. It’s important to identify them and acknowledge whether you exhibit any or all of these behaviours so you can improve your delegation process.
1. You don’t trust the core members of your team
These are some of the most common reasons (excuses) that business owners mention when confronted about their lack of delegation:
- “They won’t do it right.”
- “I know how to do it better and in a way that won’t disappoint my client or customer.”
- “Sometimes my team members ask unnecessary questions, so it’s easier for me to do it myself.”
- “I’m a perfectionist. It needs to be done to my standard, or not at all.”
When a business owner says or thinks any of these things, then they don’t trust their team members. This often leads to them micromanaging tasks that are better handled by their staff. It also results in a team member’s lack of trust towards their supervisor because they aren’t given a chance to hone their skills and grow in the company.
2. Your physical and mental health are negatively impacted
When a business owner refuses to delegate, they tend to overwork because they’re handling too many things at once. This then leads to poor physical and mental health.
Some of the signs that your physical health is deteriorating because of work include weakness and fatigue, loss of appetite, and a higher resting heart rate. Overworking can also lead to increased stress and burnout and it ultimately lowers your quality of life, productivity, and business success.
3. You’re missing deadlines or falling behind on your tasks
Lack of delegation decreases productivity for both the business owner and their team members. Failing to foster their self-confidence in accomplishing their tasks can make team members indecisive and unprepared.
You also create bottlenecks because even the core team members haven’t been taught the major processes or systems you have in place. It’s important to recognise when someone else in your team can do a task better than yourself. This will make things more efficient and less time-consuming for you and everyone else.
4. Your inbox is out of control
An inbox with a backlog of countless unread emails is a symptom of bigger issues. It indicates a lack of efficient protocol and also a lack of time and organisation on the business owner’s part to control the flow of emails.
If team members are frequently asking you questions and clarifications on different communication channels, then it’s highly likely you haven’t delegated the workload properly. It’s good that your team can ask you questions, but if they’re always confused or hesitant about their current assignment, then something in your current workflow process needs to be addressed.
Giving clear instructions and providing repeatable processes will lessen those confused and redundant emails from your team.
5. You think you’re the only one who can implement an idea
A lack of delegation is often rooted in a fear of losing control. But trying to control everything has negative impacts. And learning when to let go is important when you’re scaling your business.
Implementing an idea is more likely to be successful as a collaborative effort between you and your team, rather than just you trying to do it all. It ensures that you have different perspectives to develop an idea into something actionable. It also boosts the morale of your team because they contribute to making your vision a reality.
5 ways you can delegate to scale your small business
These five tips will help you improve your delegation skills so that it’s more manageable for you and your team to scale in the future.
1. Start the delegation process gradually
The beginning of the delegation process involves growing pains, especially if you’re assigning tasks that your team members have never done before. But it’s important not to overload them with too much work all at once so that they have time to adjust to their new assignments and responsibilities.
Remember to give clear instructions and encouragement to keep your members motivated to work.
2. Develop repeatable processes and explain them to your team
As a business owner, you need to establish repeatable processes (as opposed to changeable ones that only you know how to do). This way, you can easily share them with your team and replicate the same quality of output.
It’s important to be transparent with your processes because it allows you and your team to identify areas of improvement and adjust them accordingly. Being collaborative also creates a team of leaders, because it teaches everyone to be accountable and responsible for their own roles within your business.
3. Choose the right task for the right person
A leader takes the time to know their team’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Conducting an honest evaluation of each of your members will help you run your business more efficiently.
During evaluations, let your team members discuss their own strengths and weaknesses. This will give you a better understanding of how they see themselves. Then observe them at work. Monitoring their performance will confirm the accuracy of their self-assessment. This also allows you to maximise their strengths and work on their weaknesses (e.g. poor comprehension, lack of communication, etc.).
4. Get feedback from your team members (but don’t micromanage)
Creating constructive and genuine feedback loops between you and your team allows them to voice their concerns, opinions, and ideas. This increases employee retention because your team feels important in your business. And it motivates them to do better and contribute more, which is especially important when you start growing.
It’s important for you to know how to draw the line between receiving feedback and micromanaging. Remember that a feedback loop is a two-way conversation and that it’s not just you who should be talking.
5. Invest in training and teaching your team
Investing in your team’s development makes the delegation process more efficient. It improves your members’ skills and widens their knowledge, prepares them for more complex tasks and responsibilities, and it makes them feel more valued.
This type of investment contributes to the long-term success of your business because it better prepares everyone on your team for scaling.
Delegation is a difficult skill for most small business owners to develop. But it’s essential in scaling your business when you start encountering new sets of challenges at each stage of development.
If you want to learn how to better delegate within your business, give us a call.