Thursday, March 1, 2012

Well, Hello Blog. It's Great To Meet Again. Today's Topic? Why Delegating For Your Small Business is SUPER Important.

The last time I blogged was in December, which may not be a big deal to some of you but it's a very big deal for me.

I feel like a hypocrite. 

I mean, I consult small businesses on the importance of creating and communicating content yet, I haven't created any blog posts in almost two months. (Well, I did enter a contest via a writing entry and I won. You can read "Breakfast and Business: The Power Of My Potential" here).


Because I, too, am a small business owner. Actually, a solopreneur to be precise. And I've known for months now that I've needed extra hands in the form of interns and a virtual assistant yet I have not taken those steps for my business.

(This photo is from 2 years or so...not much has changed, except now I have an iPad in my arsenal, too)

Second WHY of the day coming right up.

WHY HAVE I POSTPONED obtaining extra help? Because delegating, as well as the preparation for delegating tasks, requires a whole other level of responsibility--one I've been shying away from with Jaclyn Mullen Media out of fear and a hesitancy to change my day to day operations.

RESPONSIBILITY. Most of us truly learned of this word when we got our drivers permits or babysat for the first time. One wrong turn of the wheel and we'd drive over a curb or hit a mailbox like I did once. One look away while watching little Jimmy John and he's out the door. Whatever the lesson was, it taught us that our actions have consequences, both good and bad. If you want less of the bad consequences, the premise was you had to increase your responsibility. Makes sense.

So, why is it that so many entrepreneurs (small business owners, solopreneurs and established business owners alike) postpone delegating tasks and put off the extra responsibility of helping hands?

What is the true fear around additional responsibilities?

Well, for one delegating tasks requires that the chief in charge has to stop and step back. YOU MEAN, HAULT THE MONEY MACHINE IN MOTION? Yes. And I for one have used this excuse along with many other business owners I've connected with. We're too busy servicing clients, looking for new business and tweeting and blogging to really map out a plan. RIGHT?

WRONG. No longer. Not for me. And hopefully not for you. With that said, today, we're going to focus on "How To Prepare For Delegating Tasks And Expanding Your Team."
  1. It's likely that you are spending time on tasks that really don't generate the  most return for you as the owner.  Have you attended a networking event? Want to import all the contacts in a CRM and connect with them on Linkedin? Important, yes. But probably not the most effective use of your time as the owner/operator of your enterprise. Tasks like these are perfect for delegating to an intern or assistant. Data entry, filing, organizing, documenting.
  2. Determine what tasks you should continue performing. Julie Lacouture from Mom Corps LA had this to say about delegating tasks to other employees/team members: "What is it that NO ONE ELSE CAN DO but you? Write these things down and be honest with yourself." Sending an email is one thing but closing sales deals or interfacing with the media--whatever your strengths may be--are the kind of tasks we're talking about here. AGAIN, what is it that you and only you Now that you have a clear idea what you and only you can do, examine the other tasks you are performing that a team member can maintain. Spreadsheets of local networking events, prospects, emails, client services, appointment setting--someone else within your organization can assume these roles. 
  3. Develop Job/Project Descriptions. What are the goals of your business? Your clients? How do your tasks fulfill those? One of the last things to do before you begin your talent/team search is creating a clear picture through job and project descriptions with regard to what each role entails. How frequently should client reports be generated, benchmarks be measured? What is the policy for time tracking? What type of authority do these individuals have, i.e must all final client and company communications be signed off on or does this team member have discretion? Compile guidelines and job descriptions to help manage expectations all across the board and ensure dynamic delegation! 
These are my tips (which I hope to implement). Of course, many more exist. If you have a delegation success story or strategy to share, please feel free to include it in the comments section below.

And if you haven't done so already, I invite you to connect with my growing community on Facebook where I try to keep you inspired, informed and interested.

It's back to work for the Jaclyn Of All Trades. Here's to being bitten by the blogging bug, once again. I'll surely never delegate that!

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