When you run your own business, there are a lot of balls to juggle, all of which you likely want to keep in the air.
...and it's never fun when balls are dropped.
If you're running your own business, you probably have the following balls you're trying to keep up in the air:
- Business Development: meeting prospects, creating proposals, closing new business
- Client Management: regular client calls, ongoing client communication, deliverable creation and quality assurance, regular analysis of said deliverables
- Marketing: content creation, branding, graphic design, social media management, email newsletters
- Team: scouting and hiring the right talent, training talent, retaining talent, investing in talent development
- Culture: organizing fun team bonding experiences, creating opportunities to spotlight and commend team members, investing in team benefits
- Operations: managing payroll, workers compensation, state and federal legalities,
- Finances: sending invoices, ensuring invoices get paid, monitoring cash flow, creating financial forecasts
But you only have two hands, right?
According to some super technical research on human limitations, no human has ever come close to juggling 13 balls at once. So what do you do when you have 26 different things you need to juggle?
You delegate. Or you crash.
But how do you delegate responsibilities without the fear they won't be done to your liking? How can you hand over your baby to strangers when they don't know the details of its allergies or which blanket it can't sleep without? It's possible, especially when you have the right team on your side.
Let’s take a look at 3 things to keep in mind that will make delegating a whole lot easier:
1. Every hire is an investment.
Every paid employee or contractor is an investment. Each time you hire someone, you’re making (at least) three investments.
- You’re investing in your business
- You’re investing in your employee’s professional/personal development.
- You’re investing in the development of your company.
We need to kick this “expert CEO” narrative—no one can be an expert on absolutely everything (unless “absolutely everything” loosely translates to FRIENDS trivia, I’ve got that covered). But do you know what we can do? Hire experts. Hire those who are experts on things that just aren’t in our wheelhouse. You’re investing in that expertise.
Take advantage of this investment, trust yourself when it comes to hiring, and remember that the time you spend delegating tasks to a junior now will save you major time in the future, too. That being said, everyone makes mistakes hiring, and sometimes we learn it the hard way, but overall, you’re most likely doing the right thing, so make it worth the investment.
2. Empower your team.
It’s the plain truth—a confident team member is a team member more likely to succeed. And you have a big role in facilitating that confidence! How can you empower the person to whom you’re delegating these tasks? Provide structure, communicate clearly, and give feedback. No one can read minds (thank goodness, because you don't want to know how often I think about my new obsession with lactose-free cookies and cream ice cream), so it’s crucial to provide as much context as necessary to clearly communicate the task. I make sure to provide details and tools when presenting new tasks, and I keep lines of communication open. That way, my employee can have the knowledge and confidence that they need in order to execute the task and execute it well.
Your employees are likely also looking at you as a mentor—and mentorship has benefits on both sides! I make a point to ask my employees questions about topics within their expertise. Doing this boosts the employee’s confidence (because they now have valuable information to offer!), it helps me learn without having to deep-dive, and it builds a strong owner-employee relationship.
3. Delegation is necessary if you want to grow your company and hold onto the sanity you have left.
Every business owner knows it—there are just never enough hours in the day. And you can’t do it flying solo, at least not if you want to grow. One nugget of insight I share with my fellow team members is to remember that delegation doesn't have to mean you step away 100% from something. It can mean that you ask for someone's help to get a project 85% of the way there so you only have to spend 15% instead of 100% of the time/energy completing it. This mindset has been a real gamechanger for our team.
As the owner of a digital marketing agency, my days are anything but conventional— filled with travel, meetings, calls, speaking, networking, content creation, team management, business development, and everything listed at the beginning of this post.
If I tried to do everything for my company, I would be stretched thinner than my patience for mansplaining. When I delegate, I’m able to not only fill my role as CEO and owner of my company but also have dinner with my boyfriend and poorly learn to golf! Delegation allows me to be able to take a step back, identify, focus and channel my energy toward how I can best serve my team, hone in on my unique strengths and, hopefully, avoid burnout. Without the trusted team I have built at Brainchild Studios, we wouldn’t be where we are today and delegation plays a critical role in that!
When you delegate, you’re aligning your work with the goals that you have for your company. Trusting others is scary! All these teeny tiny things matter because your company is your baby! But once you push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn how to delegate effectively, you can do what you need to truly move your company forward.
Kiley Executive Coach & Consultant
Kiley Peters is a serial entrepreneur, national speaker, executive coach, and small business consultant. Having personally counseled over 100 small and medium-sized businesses on operations, business development, digital marketing, and consumer behavior analysis over the last 17 years Kiley is incredibly passionate about serving small business owners. She is the Founder and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a research and business strategy partner for small businesses and mid-market executives, and also created the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurs through the steps of starting a virtual business. With these experiences in her back pocket, she understands the challenges and struggles small business owners encounter.more posts by Kiley →