Smarter Business Ideas

Time is a precious commodity for all business owners. And as many begin to enter a low growth phase, building the business rather than just working in it becomes paramount.

If your business is still growing, you may not have staff to delegate to. You may be your ‘everything’ person so that means becoming even more organised, and looking at your tasks with an open mind. But as many entrepreneurs know, that’s easier said than done.

Here are some tried and true ways to start delegating from those in the know:

  1. Delegate your least loved tasks, such as administration and finances

    Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Virtual personal assistants, online book keepers and even using professional organisers can make a difference.

    “I outsourced book-keeping, and two years into my business, I bought an office organiser in to systemise my work habits,” says internet marketer Katrina Drewer, founder of Creative Thinking Marketing.

    Delegating book keeping may be harder than delegating your cleaning, says Sue Heins, of Inspiring Women, who runs small business mentor programs for the NSW Industry & Business agency. “You need to let go of something that draws energy. If you do delegate to a bookkeeper, ensure he or she can work with your accountant as well as you.”

  2. Think laterally

    Getting staff to help out more can be tricky. Know what motivates each individual, and don’t overlay your views, suggests Brainwave HR’s Jenni Pavlou. She says simple rewards and simple recognition may go further.

    “Praise is always important. With Gen Ys, you can’t do enough of it. Movie tickets, a pat on the back…business owners may find that painful, but it’s worth it in the end. You will keep staff for longer. People like to know how they’re doing, and they need feedback,” she advises.

    Think about delegating back to clients too. “If I can encourage clients to do the low level work then that saves time and cost too,” adds Katrina Drewer, principal of Creative Thinking Marketing.

  3. Make the internet your slave, not your master

    Get the best site you can, says internet consultant Clodagh Higgins, of getfocusedconsulting.com.au, and make it work in a better way. Bring more leads to your business by better distribution of content, and ensure content is visible through the home page, Twitter and Facebook. Refresh your content in a more regular fashion through outsourcing, if you find it too hard. “Your website should be your sales team,” she says.

  4. Create a work style that’s conducive for delegation

    Have great processes, so you can take a step back and stop micro-managing.

    “We’re all control freaks when we start a business,” says Inspiring Women’s Heins. “The day I released the lists of suppliers and their contacts in my first business to the staff, they were relieved. I realised I should have shared that information much earlier.”

  5. Look at your ‘open for business ‘ hours

    A smartphone is your friend, but while the internet can make work a 24/7 affair, you need to be clear about what suits.

    “The non-physical stuff for clients, such as twittering, can be 7am or 10pm, but that doesn’t mean I’m working 80 hours a day,” says Creative Thinking’s Drewer.

    On the other hand, Heins says young entrepreneurs have boundless energy and don’t care. “But where you start to feel tired or your relationship suffers then you may need to rethink,” she adds.

    Everyone has a different limit.

  6. Learn from and work with younger people

    Be open-minded about where help comes from. One entrepreneur, aged 25, is employing loads of part-time mothers because he finds they worked harder and have more experience.

    “Young employers don’t really care about who does the job, they have less hang ups and are possibly less competitive with staff,” Inspiring Women’s Heins observes.