How to delegate better: a guide for small business owners

Learning how to delegate better can improve your business and its success


How’s that to-do list looking? When did you last focus solely on your business without distraction?

You’re not alone, it might feel like it sometimes, but you’re not. Every successful business owner goes through periods of endless meetings, missed deadlines, huge to-do lists and sleepless nights.

Over committing yourself is common, as you will yourself and your business to succeed, but in the long term it has the opposite effect. Your health suffers, relationships suffer and you’re too busy in the business to focus on it.

Running a business is hard, isn’t it?

It might come as a surprise that 90% of start ups fail. If like me, being your own boss has always been a dream, this is a statistic guaranteed to wake you up.

Running my own small business, I understand the challenges and I appreciate the commitment that is required to make it a success. I said success, not stress – it doesn’t have to be stressful.

If you’re a control freak, perfectionist or are hesitant to outsource then consider for a moment what you could be doing with that extra time.

  • * A night in with friends or family
  • * An inbox you can see an end to
  • * A to-do list you can add to
  • * Time to push your business forward
  • * A holiday without wi-fi
  • * Re-evaluate your business plans


You can add to that list anything you like.

Why delegating is important

Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Smoothies once said ‘make the main thing the main thing’. But how can you concentrate on the main thing when you’ve got all the other tasks to do?

You can do anything, but not everything!

By delegating tasks that slow you down you can be more focused on the tasks you do well.

As a business owner, delegating is something that must happen for the growth of your business, and for the reduction of your stress levels.

It’s not always about work life balance.

I work with some clients who don’t want that ‘work life balance’ everyone keeps banging on about. They like working, they enjoy having the freedom to work while on holiday, but as your business grows there will come a time that you have to let some things go.

By learning to delegate you’re free to focus your energy on the growth of your business and its needs.

Before we look at what to consider delegating there are a couple of things I think are important to hold on to.

What not to delegate

Some tasks shouldn’t be delegated, even if you don’t enjoy them, these include:

  • Expenditure especially if you’re a very small business or start up, you need to keep on top of everything that goes out and comes in. If you have employees avoid allowing them expenses paid in arrears, give them a pre-loaded charge card to last a certain amount of time.
  • Future Plans – make sure you remain the final decision maker on any plans for your businesses future. Some decisions can’t always be undone.


What can you delegate?

If the thought of delegation makes your palms sweat start with the administrative and organisational tasks that need to be done regularly, or daily. These tasks are usually time suckers and can be efficiently completed through delegation to an efficient, dependable Virtual Assistant. Once they’re out the way you can look to start delegating other tasks:

  • * Bookkeeping
  • * Website management and maintenance
  • * Graphic design
  • * Marketing
  • * Social media


You’ll benefit from delegating many of the tasks you either don’t enjoy, don’t have time for or that take you too long. For example, if you’re not tech savvy, why take the time to learn how to create a filter in Gmail to reduce the number of emails you receive , which could take you hours and create problems if done wrong, when you can hire it out to someone who can do it in quarter of the time?


Now it’s your turn

Take the time to find the tasks you can delegate or automate, and make sure you find the right person for the right type of work. As a business owner, you’ll know that sometimes what seems to be a much cheaper option isn’t always the best.

With time, outsourcing will not only be second nature, but you will look forward to the extra time you’ll have to push your business forward, have lunch with a friend or spend extra time with your family – you’re free to do with that time exactly as you please.

Take a look at my next blog: ‘So, you’re ready to delegate. Now what?‘ for four things to help you start delegating.