Having your own business is a feat that very few people are able to accomplish. To say that it is fulfilling is an understatement. But just like in any business, things can get overwhelming as you oversee its daily operations and find ways to grow it.
Most business owners begin as a one-man show. Overtime, this set up becomes burdensome and unsustainable. Basecamp founder Jason Fried said in his book Rework, “Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because she figured out a faster way.”
Leaving your 8-5 job to put up a new business should free you from the rat race. But if you still find yourself being workaholic then being an entrepreneur didn’t make much of a difference. As a business owner, you should be working less and relaxing more. To get to this point, you need to start delegating.
Overcoming the Delegation Dilemma
Delegation can be viewed in two ways. It can either be a solution or a problem. Business owners are caught between a rock and a hard place weighing the risks and benefits of delegating. In a 2013 survey, 80% of small business owners admitted that they need help in delegating successfully. While 53% said they could grow their business if they could only delegate 10% of their workload.
In addition, these entrepreneurs revealed that the biggest obstacles to their delegation are time, trust, money, and know-how. These are legitimate concerns but there are also ways to address these barriers. You can start by identifying the tasks you need to delegate. These are the time-consuming, repetitive tasks that take you away from focusing on the more vital aspects of your business.
If you’re having a hard time pinning down these tasks, just think of the things you dread doing every day. Author Terry Pratchett once said, “It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.” If your people or even your family would rather not have you spend so much time on running your business, then there must be certain things you shouldn’t be doing.
Getting the Right Kind of Help
Knowing who to hire and what to hire them for is like hitting time, trust, and money issues all in one stone. This is where virtual assistants come into play. These highly skilled professionals can take on administrative, technical, and creative tasks.
Virtual assistants are changing today’s business landscape in more ways than one. There are business-grade virtual assistants with whom you can entrust more complex business processes such as project management, web design, marketing campaigns, and more. So how do you get the right kind of help?
- Who to hire: Someone who has the skills (that will fit the job), professional experience (with a portfolio to back it up), maturity (to adapt and conduct one’s self professionally at all times), and reliability (in communication and quality of output).
- What to hire them for: The tasks you will require, responsibilities you will delegate, and other projects you need to accomplish. While there are a lot of things you can hand off to your virtual assistant, there are also tasks that you shouldn’t delegate such as management decisions and other volatile functions.
- Independent vis-à-vis Managed: Virtual-assistant-proponent Timothy Ferris made a good case for virtual assistant firms. Although there are freelancers who can do an exceptional job, firms have a pool of talent and backup virtual assistants that can guarantee uninterrupted work, seamless transitions, and consistent quality output. The great thing about firms is that most, if not all, of them have free trial so you can choose which firm gives the best performance.
With your virtual assistants doing these tasks, you now have more time to explore areas where you can grow your business. You can start brainstorming, meeting with potential partners, traveling for inspiration, all without worrying about the status of your business.
The Secret to Powerful Delegation
Successful delegation begins with documentation. The quality of your documentation determines the effectiveness of your delegation. To work successfully with your virtual assistant you have to begin by writing down the tasks she needs to do, processes involved, turnaround time, and other important details. Doing so will give you the following benefits:
- Faster and easier training. No need to come up with the same list again especially if you’re adding or changing virtual assistants.
- Room for improvement. You have an initial document that can easily be improved and updated at any given time.
- Increased business value. When potential investors look at your day-to-day operations, you can show them your well-documented processes.
- Prevents miscommunication. With everything written in black and white, your virtual assistants need not ask you repeatedly or guess your instructions.
- Avoids repetition. Delegation with documentation saves a lot of time as the clear cut processes and requirements are laid out.
Documentation addresses the know-how barrier as you dictate how you want things to be done. You can even add the rationale behind these processes so that your virtual assistants also see your objectives.
Transform Your Business Through Delegation
Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley said, “As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay or skip the rest.” This statement captures everything about the need for delegation.
As business owners, you are the best asset of your company. Your brainchild needs you to work your magic in the business you built. It could be new ideas, innovative products or expansion plans that have been put on hold.
Once you start delegating, you will be able to focus on these “mission-critical” tasks in your business. Your virtual assistants can cover things for you and keep your company running while you take care of the very things that made or will make your business successful.
Delegation is a leadership skill that very few business owners possess. It’s not something natural but rather a learned skill that is harnessed over time as you prioritize better and run your business more effectively. Delegation may seem uncomfortable at first, scary even. But when you see start focusing on things that matter and see your business fly, you’ll realize that you should’ve done it earlier. We’ll even go out on a limb here and say that you’ll eventually add more people to whom you can delegate to.
Pepper Virtual Assistants is a business solutions firm that specializes on virtual administrative and personal assistance, online marketing, customer support, and copywriting. We are known for reliability through our managed services, responsive client handling backed by extensive training, and rockstar virtual assistants hired for their skills and expertise.