Why Learning to Delegate is an Essential Part of Entrepreneurial Success
Entrepreneurs who don't learn how to delegate are in for a long, lonely ride. Here's what startup owners need to know about the art of delegation.
Editor’s Note: This post was submitted by guest blogger, Jock Purtle. Enjoy!
In our society, entrepreneurs are lauded as heroes. We make movies about them, people write books about them and politicians rave about them. But this worship of entrepreneurs clouds one very important truth: entrepreneurs are people too.
While they might seem capable of superhuman feats, such as surviving on only three hours of sleep or writing out emails with their hands tied behind their backs, they are usually just regular people who have found that unique drive to work to make their dream a reality. However, when entrepreneurs don’t realize their own humanity, they run the risk of trying to do too much.
Delegating responsibility is essential to the success of your business, yet many entrepreneurs struggle to do this. But here’s why you need to figure out a way to develop this all-important skill.
There’s wisdom in accepting there are things you simply cannot change. It’s hard to do, but one of the secrets to a good life is recognizing when you have control over something and when you do not. In entrepreneurship, one of these things is delegating responsibility. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do everything on your own.
Unless you actively hold your company back from growing, your business will grow to the point where you need help running it. Fighting this is only going to make things worse. As the company’s founder, you are the keeper of its vision, and you bring a very specific set of skills to the table that should not be sacrificed for any reason.
But running a business is about more than just ideas and vision. You need to hire people, manage cash flow, market yourself and your brand, meet with investors, find office space, and so much more. Thinking you can do all of this on your own is believing a lie, so it’s best to get this idea out of your head now. This way you can move forward with a more realistic plan for how to grow your business, making success that much more likely.
It’s Going to Make Your Business Better
Learning to delegate just makes good business sense. Not only is there not enough time in the day for you to do everything, but it’s quite likely you simply don’t have the skills to run everything on your own.
This isn’t a knock against you and your abilities. It’s just a fact. You may be awesome at crunching numbers and figuring out how to save the company money, but you may be clueless when it comes to creating content that resonates with people and encourages them to buy your products. In general, there are two ways learning to delegate makes your business better:
Quality and Productivity
Think about how much time it takes to learn a new skill. Depending on what we’re talking about, it could range from months to years to a lifetime. As a result, turning work over to someone else who has this skill is the most logical thing you can do.
For example, say you want to enhance your company’s social media presence. You could sit down and take all sorts of classes and seminars on social media marketing, trying out what you learn as you go. Or, you could hire someone who has a background in this field to do this work for you, meaning you don’t need to waste your time learning this new skill, and you’ll also be able to benefit from having someone with years of experience in social media marketing work to help make your company better. It’s win-win.
Another example is hiring a virtual receptionist. It’s far cheaper than employing an in-house receptionist, plus they make sure all of your calls are answered professionally. This way your callers are always taken care of and you’re not constantly interrupted by a ringing phone all day.
Delegating responsibility also makes your business more efficient. Instead of you focusing on many things, turning yourself into a physical manifestation of the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none,” you can instead spend your time doing what you do best, leaving other tasks to those who know how to do them faster and more efficiently.
A good example of this is payroll and HR management. Hiring employees and paying them seems simple, but it’s not. Everyone is going to have a different set of deductions, and making sure you’re fully compliant with the law means spending a lot of time reading up on all relevant regulations. Working with a professional employer organization (PEO) allows you to turn these often-tedious tasks over to someone else so that they can do them much faster and more effectively, freeing you up to focus on other aspects of the business. Again, it’s a win-win.
It’s Going to Keep You Sane
Being an entrepreneur is an all-the-time thing. The stress of running your own business will never go away, so it’s important you learn how to manage this so that you can maintain good health and also protect your relationships (loved ones will put up with your distracted, busy self for a long time, but everyone has their limits).
It’s totally normal for entrepreneurs to be stressed out in the beginning, but you need to learn to delegate so that you can create some semblance of a work-life balance. If you don’t, then you’ll eventually burn out, and who knows what will be the consequences of that. A mental breakdown can ruin your life, and so can losing someone close to you because you’re so miserably stressed you’ve become awful to be around.
As an entrepreneur, your business and your life are the same thing. Learn how to delegate so that you can keep both up and running in tip-top shape.
About the Author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service specializing in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He has been an entrepreneur since he started his first business at age 19. Now, he works with other business owners to maximize the value of their companies.