01Create Strong Systems
Before you begin to delegate tasks, you'll need to create strong systems. Here's how to get started:
1. Create total focus.
Get out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Title the page Total Focus. On the left side, write down all of the tasks you do in a week, from answering the phone to shipping to providing service and creating new products. On the right side, write down the three things you love doing. Compare the lists.
2. Group tasks for easy delegation.
Next to each task, label it with one of the three major business areas:
- Administrative (office paperwork)
- Sales/Marketing (attracting customers or making the sale)
- Production (producing/shipping and delivery of products or services)
3. Start Documenting.
For each task, write down the steps to completion. You might start with Heres How We _____________ to prompt you. Use whatever method is simplest for you a screenshot, written or typed steps, diagrams just get it down on paper and put it in a binder called Procedure Manual.
More tips on creating solid systems here.
In his book The Four Hour Workweek, Tim Ferris writes about his quest to outsource any kind of work he doesn't enjoy (in fact he recommends it for even those of us who still have desk jobs). All exaggeration aside, a booming business for virtual assistants exists out there, and you can take advantage of it. For more on how to do this, see Tim's book or check out the site of outsourcing guru James Wedmore.
Ready to start outsourcing? You'll want to get organized first -- that's the best way to get the most bang for your buck. Learn how to get the most out of an outsourcing relationship.
Hiring the right people can be challenging but it's worth it to take your time. Gallerist, entrepreneur and writer Jen Beckman advises new entrepreneurs to focus long-range: "You are constantly thinking about who you are hiring tomorrow but really it makes more sense to think about who you are hiring in three months."
Ken runs a very successful graphic arts business that does $1.5 million a year in sales. He has two employees who do administrative tasks. His problem: he hasn't been able to free up enough time to pursue projects that capture his imagination and will propel the business forward -- largely because he is not comfortable with delegating.
Started a weekly staff meeting to delegate projects and get the staff's feedback on how they can do more substantive work. His employees were thrilled and look forward to bringing their ideas to the meeting. They are being challenged like never before and have more job satisfaction.
Plenty of tools exist to automate repetitive tasks such as social media marketing, including HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social and Buffer. Use them to schedule your updates and see analytics about the performance of your accounts.
Another great automation option is IFTTT.com, which creates "recipes" for repetitive online tasks. For example, if you'd like a picture you post to Twitter to automatically be posted to Facebook, or have any of your social media photos be automatically saved to Dropbox, IFTTT.com can do that.
Tips for Delegating
One of the biggest pitfalls for entrepreneurs is trying to do too much. The easiest solution? Delegate. Of course, that's easier said than done. But the truth is, any entrepreneur, whether she's working by herself or with a team, can delegate. Here are a few solid tips on getting started.