As a small business owner, you’re used to wearing a lot of hats. After all, you built your business from the ground up – no one knows it better than you do.
But what happens when your business starts to grow? You can’t handle every single task forever. You’d get burnt out and overwhelmed, which isn’t good for your professional or personal life.
Both of my parents have owned their own businesses, so I’ve seen this kind of thing first hand. It can be scary and nerve-wracking to hand over some of the day-to-day operations of your business, but it can be done.
And once you have processes in place, you’ll have more opportunities to actually enjoy the ride of being an entrepreneur!
What You Can Delegate
Obviously, it’s not a great idea to have other people or technology handle everything in your business. There are some things that you may genuinely enjoy doing, and there’s no reason that you have to give those things up.
Here are a few common things small business owners let go of:
Web Design and Development - One of the main ways your customers are going to find you is by doing a website search. Don’t you want your first impression to be a good one? Rather than pulling your hair out trying to design and update your own website, hire a freelancer. It’ll give you a polished image, and keep your sanity intact!
Bookkeeping/Accounting - Record keeping, AP/AR, taxes – bookkeeping and accounting are full time jobs in themselves. They’re also super important to making sure your business runs smoothly. Making sure they’re accurate and organized is definitely a job for a professional.
IT Support - Unless you’re an IT whiz, my guess is you’d rather not be stuck underneath your desk when your network goes down. You can find lots of low-cost options for IT help, and it’ll give you peace of mind that if something DOES break, it can be fixed quickly.
Office Administration Tasks - As the business owner, you want to be out networking, marketing, and getting people to become fans of your business. Don’t let administrative tasks bog you down! Find someone who enjoys taking care of the odds and ends, and make them your right-hand man (or woman!).
Social Media Writing and Posting - Social media may be something you can handle when you're just starting out, but it becomes really time consuming as you grow. Crafting and posting tweets, Facebook updates, and pinning on Pinterest are all things you can hand off to someone else.
Writing Tasks - Product and service descriptions, blog posts highlighting the latest goings-on of your business, even ad copy are all things you can outsource. Writing can take up a lot of time (and creative energy), that may be best used elsewhere in your business.
Customer Service and Support - When you're just starting out, being the main point of contact for your customers is key for relationship building. But as your customer base grows, you can't answer every single email or phone call. Having one or two dedicated people to handle customer questions, problems and praise will free up your day so you can focus on serving those customers better!
This definitely isn’t a hard and fast list, and you may have the resources to handle the things I’ve talked about here. But think about the pain points of your day to day, things you would rather live without doing. Those are the things you can delegate.
How to Start Delegating
Now that you’re kicked back daydreaming about all the extra time you’ll have for activities when you’ve delegated out your tasks, let’s talk about how to do it.
Find a Virtual Assistant or Freelancer
You may be saying, “I don’t have the means to hire employees right now!” Fear not. You can find plenty of help.
Virtual assistants are a great way of getting help with the stuff that you really don’t want to be doing. They’re perfect for sorting emails, bookkeeping and record keeping, making travel arrangements – pretty much anything a traditional in-house administrative assistant would do. Where to hire a virtual assistant: Zirtual, uAssist.me
Freelancers – We talk a lot about freelancers here on the Grasshopper blog – because they’re awesome. Really, though. You can hire super talented people for specific projects, and know that you’re getting great work – and you don’t have to pay a full time employee! Everyone’s happy. Where to hire a freelancer: Elance, oDesk
Hire an Employee (or Two)
Sometimes handling parts of your business off to a total stranger online is a little scary. Oftentimes you can find one employee that has many of the skills you’re looking for, and can handle a lot of the tasks you don’t like doing.
For example, an administrative assistant can help with bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, correspondence – and a ton of other tasks. And if you’re using Grasshopper, they don’t even need to be in your location! (See what I did there?)
But first, you need to actually find someone to help you. Hiring isn't as scary as it's made out to be, I promise.
Write a detailed job description and post it on hiring sites. Make sure you outline the tasks this person will be responsible for, as well as any specific skills they should have.
Tell everyone you know and get a referral. Your friends and network know you best!
Work with a recruiter to refine your listing and find someone if there are no bites.
How to Manage Your New Staff
There are a lot of tools out there to handle the management of small teams. Many of them also allow you to delegate tasks, keep up with their progress, and give or receive feedback. It will keep you super organized, and you’ll have everything in writing, which makes life a lot easier when you need to go back and look at something that was done three months ago.
Whether you're working with freelancers, virtual assistants, or someone sitting in your office, these tools will help you stay on top of everything.
Hall - Hall allows you to chat one-on-one with team members, or create a group chat for quick meetings on the go. You can even share files between your team – so all those cat pictures won’t end up in your inbox! And at only $8 per user per month, it’s definitely affordable for a small business.
Trello - Trello is a great collaboration tool we use here at Grasshopper. Team members can create cards of tasks that need to be completed, attach files, include checklists, and comment on the progress. You can also move cards between status columns, so you always know what's happening with a particular task.
Basecamp - Basecamp is a great project management tool that is perfect for multiple people working on the same thing at the same time. It's extremely useful when you're managing something such as web design, when you may have several people working on different parts of the project at the same time. Keep everyone on the same page, and save the stress of managing it all yourself!
Weekdone - Outline tasks for your team, which appear on a visual dashboard so you can watch the progress. Teams can talk to each other and you inside the tool, which saves everyone a lot of wasted time on emails. You can even run reports to see where your team stands on their goals.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you delegate your tasks or not. If you can find trustworthy people that you’re comfortable working with, it’s definitely something to consider – if for nothing else but saving your sanity!
Your Turn: What tasks do you delegate (or wish you could delegate!)? Tell us in the comments below!
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