One of the most important, yet most underrated elements of running a successful business is learning how to delegate effectively. No matter how skilled or productive you are, there’s no way you can do everything yourself. Sooner or later, you’ll need to hire employees, contractors, or agencies, and entrust them with the tasks you wish you had the time or bandwidth to deal with yourself.
Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong when you delegate. If you delegate to the wrong people, you could end up losing time or money. If you delegate but fail to communicate effectively, you could end up wasting time and ending with an inferior finished task. If you don’t delegate enough, you could end up burning out and never reaching peak business efficiency.
Fortunately, there are some strategies that can help you document more effectively.
Understand That Nearly Everything Can Be Delegated
Lots of entrepreneurs convince themselves that the only work that can be delegated is work that requires no skills or training, like data entry. In reality, you can delegate just about anything. For example, if you use registered agent services, you can have a registered agent accept your legal documents and notifications. If you train someone correctly, they can take over sales. If you find someone with the right mix of education and experience, they can even help you with some of your management responsibilities.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to delegate everything. In most cases, you shouldn’t; some types of delegation cost too much money or do more harm than good. What’s important here is that you’re open to every option, and willing to consider the possibilities.
Know What You’re Worth (and What You’re Best At)
Next, consider how much you’re worth. There are a few different ways you could calculate what you’re worth, but the easiest way for most people is to base it off an adjusted hourly rate from your most recent job. If that’s not available to you, consider how much you’ll eventually be collecting in salary or profits, and try to estimate an hourly rate from there.
This is important because it will represent your threshold for hiring people. For example, let’s say you estimate your worth to be $100 per hour. You’ve considered delegating work on your plate to someone for $50 an hour. This is hypothetically a good investment, since each $50 hour will free you up to accomplish $100 of productive work. This isn’t an absolute, but can serve as a good rule of thumb.
Keep an Extended Network of Skilled Specialists
In general, specialists are inclined to help you more than generalists; in other words, delegation is more effective when you’re assigning tasks that align with someone’s specialty skillset than when you’re assigning tasks to jacks-of-all-trades. Hire employees, find agencies, and discover independent contractors who specialize in different areas related to your business. Then, call upon those people as necessary to keep your work running smoothly.
Be Thorough and Precise in Your Assignments
One of the biggest barriers to effective delegation is efficient communication. If you make a mistake in relaying details about the assignment, the person to whom you’re delegating won’t be able to complete that assignment as you intend. It’s in your best interest to describe the task as thoroughly and precisely as possible; if there are questions, answer them to the best of your ability.
It may take a few extra minutes to compose an email or have a phone conversation that relays these instructions accurately, but it’s worth the extra investment.
Trust, but Verify
When assigning things, even to people you’ve known a long time, follow the adage “trust, but verify.” The basic idea is to trust that your employees, partners, and other contacts will accomplish your assignment as intended and by the deadline, but to verify their work along the way. Use automated reminders to check in with your contacts on your most pressing or valuable tasks, and always double check the work you receive. Make sure your managers are doing the same.
Delegation is most effective when done consistently. When you find team members or freelancers who work reliably and effectively, keep them around. Reward them with better pay or other perks, and keep sending them work. Better relationships, especially over the long term, will result in much greater efficiency.
Once you master the art of delegation, nearly everything in your business will get easier. You’ll find yourself wasting less time on tasks, spending less money, and getting more done every day regardless. Best of all, as you scale your business, you’ll enjoy even more benefits from delegating effectively, since you’ll be reliant on more and more people to make your business a success.