I work with many different businesses, of all sizes and shapes, but pretty much all of them are small businesses run by passionate owners. I am often brought in to help with some marketing or training needs. I might be going in to help them set up a new service, but again and again, I am actually faced with business owners trying to ‘do it all’ and who are having major capacity issues. Capacity to do all that they want to do in their business; capacity to do all that is needed in their business to grow and survive and capacity to think straight about what are the crucial tasks that they need to perform each day.
This is not said with any judgement or ‘I told you so’ wagging fingers. I have been, and still am on occasion, one of those owners. I too, fall into that trap that I can juggle all these tasks and I too fail to recognise that until something vital gets left undone and I drop a spinning plate.
After all, owning a small business is mush like parenting (for me at least). It is something you love and initially struggle to hand over any care of. You are solely in charge of it’s welfare and find it impossible to believe that anyone else has what it takes to help in anyway. You are also filled with those feelings of comparison envy – other business owners are sailing through all these issues right? Nobody else struggles away trying to cope while smiling to the outside world – that’s got to be just me!? Eventually you realise that the sensible parents are actually getting some help with their little one – a bit of time off or support with tasks like shopping, ironing or picking up from nursery. And this isn’t about just new businesses….who would expect a parent of a teenager to know what to do instinctively when their little one becomes a big one with attitude? We all get advice & support then.
Being a business owner is as much about what tasks you give away as the ones you perform.
Delegation can be done in so many ways and I will be talking about this is another blog, but here are some initial ideas. You might need to go the whole hog and employ people. You might not need that yet but actually a bookkeeper for a few hours a month might be a huge breakthrough. Maybe you just need an accountant to avoid the long hours of stress in the New Year when you might be better planning & getting creative. Perhaps you can employ the services of techie whizz who will straighten out your laptop to avoid wasted hours of growling and slow software.
Be sure that if you identify with any of the following signs, it is time to delegate in your business.
- You spend much of your time feeling stressed. Not the excited, buzzy excitement stress of the early days of your business, but the draining, dragging lump on your chest that follows you around every day. This is not how running a business should be and will only cramp your creativity and slow things down.
- You are the only one who can find files, work the spreadsheet, knows the logins for stuff and how to get the invoices out. Not only is this information overload, but what will happen to your business, customers and clients if you go down with a 3 week flu? Who will be able to jump in and send out some invoices or update that essential page on your website? Being the holder of all the keys is dangerous.
- You feel that what you bring to the business is everything. Nobody can do everything and do it well. Something will ALWAYS give out…your health, essential tasks, disappointed customers. Work out what the ‘best you’ brings to the party and try to shed some of the remaining jobs, leaving you to drive the business with a clear head full of creativity.
I will be following up this blog with ways to decide what you need to delegate and how to do that without stress or overstitching your budget, so sign up to my newsletter or look out for it on my Facebook page, Twitter, Linked & right here.