Productivity and the art of delegation

As a business owner, it can often seem counter-productive to take time out to analyse the tasks and activities you spend your time on, and what value each of them holds to your business. However, I’d suggest that to take time out to train someone is rarely time wasted and would free up your valuable time and vastly increase your productivity.

Why delegate?

11.jpg
  • You don’t HAVE to do everything yourself, even if you can
  • Your time and resource is best spent generating revenue for your business
  • There is help available for even the smallest of businesses
  • You need to concentrate on the tasks that are the most valuable to you and make you the most money
  • Increase your productivity and ultimately save yourself money by delegating certain tasks/activities

What could you delegate?

If don’t want to do something, don’t have the time, confidence, expertise, or knowledge, or if it’s something that you hate doing – then delegate that task or activity. Use it as an opportunity to train someone else and in the long run, you’ve saved yourself time and money.

Think about delegating tasks and activities that are:

  • Ad hoc
  • Repetitive
  • Less valuable to the business

To whom could you delegate?

12.jpg

There are several possibilities for who you could delegate to, and any number of them could suit your business requirements, as every business is different. If you don't know who to approach, a good idea is to seek advice and recommendations from fellow business owners, local business advisers or social media forums.

Current member of staff

This could be a fantastic opportunity to train a current member of staff and give them more responsibility, an added skillset, or increased knowledge of the business. You might be surprised by their potential, and their feedback could even result in a more efficient process for that task or activity.

Virtual/personal assistant

They offer a huge range of professional and pro-active skills and can save you from additional staff overheads.

Apprentice

You could train an apprentice, gaining an extra pair of hands, reduced staff turnover, and allowing you to develop their skills as a future employee of your business.

Interns

Often a student seeking experience in their chosen field, you could increase their employability by providing them with that experience, and potentially use it as an opportunity to train a future employee.

Other business owners

You could offer a skills swap with other business owners, offering them a service that you provide or a skill that you have in return for their help and expertise in the type of task or activity that you want to delegate.

How should you delegate?

Step 1. Analyse the time you spend on each task/activity on a daily/weekly/monthly basis – if necessary use an activity tracker.

Step 2. Analyse which of those tasks/activities are the most valuable to your business – what makes you money?

Step 3. Look at which tasks/activities are left, and which you think you could and should delegate to free up your time.

Step 4. Decide who it would be best to delegate these tasks/activities to – it could be a mix of internal and external people.

Step 5. Take the time (if you haven’t already) to write proper processes or manuals for these tasks/activities.

Step 6. Approach the person you wish to delegate to, and agree payment terms/training needs with them.

Step 7. Train the relevant delegate using your process/manual – these will usually need to be adapted and amended as you go before producing a final version (writing a process that you know well can often result in missed steps or leaving out what you think is obvious).

Step 8. Allow the delegate to complete the tasks/activity that you have trained them to do - whilst being aware that they may need to ask questions until they are comfortable. This doesn’t mean that you should give up and reclaim the task/activity.

Step 9. Check on their work to ensure you’re confident in your delegation choice, and they are confident you’re satisfied with their work.

13.jpg

Step 10. Once they’re comfortable with what they’re doing, ask for feedback. This could result in a much-improved process, and also shows that you value their input.

Step 11. Be comfortable that you can leave your delegate to complete this task/activity on your behalf.

Step 11. Now that you know you don’t have to do everything yourself, assess whether you could delegate other tasks and activities

Enjoy the time and resource you’ve freed up for yourself and go spend that time on making money for your business!