You Don't Have to Do It All

I started this business by myself and now I have three great employees. My wife tells me to let them help more. But if you want something done right, you do it yourself.

Not necessarily. Knowing how to delegate can be an important skill for small business owners. In fact, it might be just the thing to take your business to the next level.

Fears and Benefits

One of the fears owners have about delegating is that they’ll lose control. Will I be able to maintain my standard of quality? Can I trust my people to do the right thing?

This is especially true of businesses that start out as a sole proprietor. Customers associate the business with you and the service you provide. So, it’s important that you maintain the brand you've created.

Yet delegation has an upside, too. It gives you the opportunity to develop your staff. That can result in a more engaged team as their responsibilities grow. Delegation also frees you to concentrate on more strategic responsibilities, like planning and new business development.

Getting Started

Here are some tips to consider as you start to delegate:

  • Start small – break down the task into smaller parts and take them one at a time. Depending on the duty, it might make sense to begin with the simplest part or the first step
  • Focus on coaching – expect mistakes at first so concentrate on providing feedback, both positive and corrective
  • Leave room for innovation – your staff may not do things exactly as you do (they might have a better way), focus on the outcomes
  • Provide checkpoints – establish key points when you check progress. It’s a chance to assess performance, and it provides reassurance that results are being achieved

Careful delegation can help you focus on a growing business. If you want something done right, teach others to do it. Then move on to more important things.

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