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Delegating Tasks for Business Growth

Delegating Tasks

Growing a business is tough, and one of the biggest hurdles isn’t always what you’d expect. It’s not the cutthroat competition, the unpredictable market, or even securing enough cash flow—often, it’s the business owner’s own unwillingness to delegate tasks. Letting go of some control isn’t easy when you’ve poured your heart into your venture. However, holding on too tightly can stunt your business’s growth significantly.

 

The Struggle with Delegating Tasks

Entrepreneurs often find it tough to hand over tasks to others. It’s like letting go of a part of their baby—a business they’ve worked incredibly hard to build. This hesitancy usually comes from a fear of losing control and a belief that no one else can do the job quite like they can. This mindset can really hold back a business from growing because it’s just not possible to do everything yourself without eventually burning out. Realizing that delegating tasks doesn’t mean you’re giving up on quality or control is the trick. In fact, it can actually mean the opposite: it can boost efficiency and spark new ideas, all while building a stronger, more capable team.

 

Famous Founders Who Stepped Back

History is full of examples where successful founders made the tough decision to step back, allowing more experienced executives to take the lead:

  • Google: Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin realized they needed someone with a robust corporate management background to scale their rapidly growing tech giant. In 2001, they brought in Eric Schmidt as CEO to steer Google through its next growth phase, which was a pivotal move for the company.
  • Microsoft: Bill Gates decided to shift his focus from day-to-day operations to concentrate on product strategy and innovation, which led him to appoint Steve Ballmer as CEO in 2000. This transition was crucial for Microsoft to maintain its dominance in the tech industry by expanding its product line and market reach.
  • eBay: Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, is a prime example of a founder stepping down from the CEO role to allow new leadership to scale the business further. Omidyar founded eBay in 1995 and rapidly grew it into a major online auction site. Recognizing that his strengths were more in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship rather than running a company that was quickly becoming a massive, publicly traded enterprise, Omidyar stepped down as CEO in 1998. He handed the reins to Meg Whitman, who was better equipped with corporate experience to manage the complexities of a booming business. This transition allowed Omidyar to focus on his interests in philanthropy and innovation while Whitman propelled eBay through an era of significant expansion and global reach.

These cases show that stepping back doesn’t mean stepping away. Instead, it’s about concentrating on areas where you, as a founder, can add the most value.

 

My Own Struggles with Delegating Tasks

My hesitancy in delegating tasks has challenged me for decades (and probably longer). I’m certain that former employees can corroborate that statement. That being said, a statement that has stuck with me for about 20 years is this: two people doing 70% of what you can do equals 140% of what you can do yourself. Then add your new 100% to that to get 240%. That’s what delegation can accomplish.

 

How to Start Delegating Tasks

If the thought of delegation makes you nervous, here are some steps to ease into it:

Identify Delegation Opportunities

First, identify tasks that you dislike, aren’t good at, or that consume a disproportionate amount of your time. These often include:

  • Administrative tasks: Data entry, scheduling, email management, and other routine paperwork can usually be handed off with little risk but great benefit in freed-up time.
  • Financial management: Tasks such as bookkeeping, financial planning, and payroll are critical but can be easily outsourced to professionals who can handle them more efficiently and with better compliance.
  • Operational tasks: Areas like inventory management, order fulfillment, and facility operations are often better managed by specialized staff.
  • Marketing tasks: SEO, social media, prospecting, search marketing… marketing is a job that is never finished and if you don’t have a background in marketing, you’re spending lots of time trying to learn and figure things out. Hiring a marketing expert will improve your marketing, increase sales opportunities, and give you time to close more new customers.

Choose the Right People

Delegating tasks is most effective when the right people are in the right roles. Look for team members who demonstrate reliability, share your business ethos, and show leadership potential. Preparing them might require time and training, but the investment is crucial for building a strong foundation.

Set Clear Expectations and Provide Support

When delegating tasks, it’s essential to communicate your expectations. Define what successful completion of the tasks looks like, set up checkpoints, and provide the resources needed to achieve these goals. This approach minimizes the need for micromanagement, which can undermine the benefits of delegation.

Implement Systems and Processes

Create or update systems that ensure consistency and quality. Use tools like CRM systems, project management software, and standardized operating procedures to streamline operations. These systems not only support your team but also provide you peace of mind that things are running smoothly. I’m a fan of Asana and ClickUp.

Foster a Culture of Trust

Trust is the backbone of effective delegation. You need to trust that your team will handle tasks well, and they need to trust that they have your support if they encounter challenges. Encourage openness, celebrate achievements, and treat mistakes as learning opportunities.

Gradually Increase Responsibility

Start with smaller, less critical tasks and gradually increase the scope of what you delegate as your team proves their competence. This phased approach helps mitigate risks and builds your confidence in your team’s abilities.

 

Embrace Delegating Tasks to be More Productive

Task delegation isn’t about losing control; it’s about strategically sharing control to maximize business growth. The examples of Google and Microsoft illustrate how letting go of certain operational duties can allow a business to flourish under the guidance of capable leaders, while founders focus on broader business strategies.

By embracing delegation, you not only alleviate your own workload but also empower your team, which can lead to increased innovation and efficiency. This strategy is essential for any entrepreneur looking to take their business to the next level. Letting go, in this sense, is not just a way to grow—it’s a necessity.

 

aaron@aaronmwelch.com

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