There are only so many hours in your day. If you don’t want to let work take over your life, you have to learn to prioritise and finally delegate as you grow as a business. One of the biggest problems of a successful business is a boss / owner who doesn’t know how to delegate.
Types of Tasks
Which is fine, but how do you know what you can delegate? Well, for me I delegate or outsource a task, they generally fall into one of a few categories :
Oh look, we need to do inventory. Or packing. Or receiving. All important tasks – but you don’t need a lot of training to do any of these. This is not a specialised task or one that is particularly complex – so why are you; the owner doing this? If you can afford to delegate, why don’t you?
- Specialised knowledge tasks
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have specialised tasks that require a high level of specialised knowledge. Our yearly tax returns are a great example. Could I learn how to fill out the tax form? Probably. Would it be worth the time and effort taken? No. There’s too great a liability to getting it wrong as well. So these are great tasks to outsource.
There’s a lot of things that you might be good at. There are a lot of tasks or types of tasks that I just am not very good at. These days, I do my best to delegate these tasks to others. As a great example – anything that has to deal with detailed work. My mind spins too fast, running away from the task at hand and I often make mistakes on detailed work even when I try to focus. It’s better and easier to actually delegate a lot of this type of work to someone else, just to get it right.
Here’s the part where I abuse my privilege of being the business owner. I do outsource and delegate some work that I could do, which I just have no desire to do. The Video Reviews are a great example. Could I do them? Sure. Are they a detailed / knowledge-heavy enough task that it’s not low value? Yes. Would it cost a lot more to outsource than produce in-house? Yes. So why don’t’ I do them? Because I don’t want to.
Sometimes, you should use the privilege of being the boss.
When to Delegate
Great. So you know the types of tasks I generally delegate, but when do you do delegate? Here’s a few criteria I use:
- Can I afford to? – Obvious and no explanation needed
- Can I replace the delegated task with another higher value task? – Assuming you still intend to work those hours, sometimes it’s worth asking if there’s a better task you could be doing. If there isn’t, you should just do the task at hand after all.
- What’s my liability if this task is not completed by me? – I still double-check our petty cash books on a regular basis, ensuring that everything totals up correctly. It’s a boring, tedious task that I dislike doing but it’s a necessary fraud-check behavior. If I delegated this task, it would lose most of its importance and increase my liability to being defrauded.
- Can this task be done faster, more effectively and cheaper than by someone else than me? – If I’m not really good at a task and have to continuously redo or recheck a task to ensure it gets done properly, perhaps it’s better done by someone else.
- Is this task important enough that someone else should know how to do it? – Nearly every single task in the store has been completed by me at some point or another. I can takeover almost every single task, and that’s good. The opposite should be true – in case of accident / injury / illness; your employees should still be able to run the store without you (mostly). Some things might require you to use a 3rd party (e.g. a director, your lawyer or accountant) if you would prefer not to give them that level of power / control (e.g. the ability to pay the bills).
- How much problems are there going to be delegating this? – delegation of tasks takes time. If it’s a one-off task, it might be better to just bit the bullet and do it yourself.
If you can get most of those checked off, you’re good to go. That lists even works for tasks in-house if you are looking to outsource it.