In this month’s Business Vitamins blog, we have a guest blogger, Jane Cattermole of ‘BayTree VA’.

Over to you Jane…

I recently posed the question ‘how easy do you find it to delegate?’ on the LinkedIn East Anglia SME Business Forum group. It resulted in some thought-provoking comments, which showed that delegation is something that’s far from easy for small business owners. This isn’t surprising given that we’ve started out by trying to do everything ourselves, whether for cost reasons or because we’re still in the process of shaping our business and don’t feel confident about briefing others.

However, there comes a time when you’ve got to step back, reassess and acknowledge that it’s fool-hardy to try and do it all. If you find that you’re regularly working into the early hours, then you’re not going to be doing the best by your business or yourself. Indeed for your business to grow you have to recognise that ‘you need to work on the business and not in it’. This means you need to find people that you can trust and delegate to. In the current economic climate, it’s understandable if small businesses are wary of employing a member of staff, particularly if the company has fluctuating work flow or could benefit from expertise in a number of areas.

Therefore, delegation tends to mean coming to terms with outsourcing areas of work, saving you from grappling with tasks that take too long, are beyond your level of expertise or are distracting you from your key areas of business. A common concern is that delegation leads to a loss of control. But delegation isn’t about abdicating responsibility, but assuming the role of overseer rather than active participant. When deciding to try your hand at delegating, manage your expectations. Delegation is a shift in the way you work and isn’t a quick fix, so acknowledge that “delegation takes time before it makes time”.

Once you start, you may find that delegating becomes addictive, so here are a few tips that might help:

• Write/work out a detailed brief setting out what needs to be done, why it needs to done, who it is being done for and when it is needed.
• Be realistic about the timescale. Allow enough time to take account of queries, other work commitments etc.
• Make yourself available to answer questions and provide clarification. By encouraging communication you are more likely to end up with the result you want.
• Give constructive feedback. You are building a relationship here, so be diplomatic and give praise where praise is due.You may think, ‘it would be easier to battle on myself’! But when you can delegate effectively, you benefit from an additional member of your team who understands your business, who can be more proactive and altogether more useful, and who gives you the gift of time. Whether you decide to outsource to a virtual assistant, marketing expert, book-keeper, graphic designer or social media expert, it’s worth taking the time to induct them about your business. Have a structured approach to communication, and there’ll be a good foundation from which trust will grow.Delegate with confidence and you can then concentrate on the strategic and fee earning areas of your business.

Jane Cattermole runs Bay Tree VA which provides freelance PA and secretarial support to business owners, home-based professionals, project managers and consultants. Drawing on over 20 years experience working with senior management, Bay Tree VA provides a wide range of services and was also awarded Best Young Business in Bury St Edmunds 2010.

Do you need to outsmart your competitors? Contact us now on 01449 782235 to discuss what you need and how we can help you meet your goals.

Why not find out more about Business Vitamins, Strategic B2B marketing agency Suffolk.

Or follow BizVits on Twitter?
Or Like us on Facebook?
Or +1 us on Google+?
Or see the Business Vitamins channel on YouTube?