On a bookshelf somewhere in my past, I can see the spine of a book – ‘Don’t do. Delegate!’ We’re talking way back in time, as a child perusing my parents’ book collection, nestled somewhere between the Wilbur Smiths and the Stephen Kings.
Delegating is not a new skill; it is as relevant now to the community of small businesses owners as is it was to ambitious sales managers in the 90s. But it is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are used to doing everything yourself.
For many sole traders, entrepreneurs or small businesses, it’s common place to multi-function. If you work on your own, you are the sales manager, the accounts department, the marketing assistant, the technical team, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…well, maybe not, but you get the idea. There is not a one single role for each person, you are a one person for all roles. You wear many hats and keep many balls in the air.
Stop! You don’t have to do it all.
As many businesses shun the conventions of the traditional bricks and mortar premises and operate out of spare rooms, converted garages, co-working spaces or even NFA virtual businesses, the idea of having employed staff may no longer fit in the same way as it does the with time-honoured business structures.
This is where a virtual assistant or even a remote team can come into its own. By carefully picking self-employed team members, you can outsource specific functions to people skilled in that area of expertise. The types of tasks you could delegate would depend on the nature of your business, but commonly outsourced services include admin, social media, marketing, newsletters, event preparations and website content.
These could range from mundane repetitive tasks that are scheduled routinely, right through to project-specific tasks that require someone hands-on for the duration of the project. But by delegating in these different areas, you will free up your time to focus more on running your business.
How to delegate
- Draw up a list of tasks that require attention
- Work out which of these tasks could be performed by someone else
- Decide which are routine tasks and could be handled by a virtual assistant
- Or consider upcoming projects and think about creating a virtual team
- Brief each person accordingly and clarify progress reporting and feedback
- Review each task regularly
Trust and transparency are key requirements in the working relationship with a virtual assistant, the two support each other. Can you monitor the progress of the work easily? Are reports about the tasks readily available? Are systems in place so that you can check-in on how things are going?
Costs are a common concern for many small businesses, but consider how much time you could save and potentially how much new business could be achieved. And if the time requirements change, the responsive nature of working with self-employed assistants means they can accommodate by increasing hours as and when required.