This piece is part of our Small Business Basics content series. Today’s piece by Kristen Townsend helps us through making that big, scary leap all businesses must in order to grow: outsourcing and delegation!
After you read, share with us:
What do you outsource or delegate in your small business?
Whether you are just launching your business or you are several years in, learning how to successfully outsource and delegate is a key to your overall success.
Research tells us that the most impactful organizational leaders are highly adept at handing over tasks and projects that do not require their own specific skill sets. This allows them to more fully step into the roles they are naturally gifted in, and it promotes growth, scalability, and long-term sustainability for their organizations.
How do you know when to outsource and delegate?
The first red flag is overwhelm.
Maybe you feel like there is never enough time in the day. You might feel like you’re drowning in the day-to-day tasks of running your business. Your time is mostly spent putting out fires and lacks intention and focus. The joy you felt at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey has faded since you aren’t able to truly focus on your own strengths and passions within your work. Most of all, there is a feeling of frustration as you miss out on opportunities for growth.
In this stage, you have little to no white space or margin in your calendar, thus no room for creativity or innovation. Successful leaders and business owners intentionally create white space in their schedules. Why? This allows them to recharge, to be creative, to focus on working on their business vs. in their business.
Think for a moment about a beautiful musical score. What would happen if you removed the silence between each note so that all of the notes ran together? That piece of music would suddenly feel rushed and harried. The same can be said about our never ending to-do lists. In short, the magic happens in the margins—both in music and in your business. Creating this margin requires business owners to outsource and delegate.
If you identify with these feelings of overwhelm, know that you aren’t alone. Every successful entrepreneur has experienced this sort of near-burnout. But how do you climb out of that struggle?
This is where learning to effectively outsource and delegate comes into play.
First, you’ll have to be self-aware. Take time to truly think about your strengths and start to identify your weaknesses. Which daily/weekly/monthly tasks bring you joy? Which tasks require only your skillset? Are there things on your calendar that you dread? Where do you feel like you are able to thrive and show up as your full self? What do you seem to always procrastinate?
We suggest spending at least 5 business days with a journal. As you go about your to-do list, write down every task or project that pops up that you either dread or immediately put on the back burner. Maybe it’s a type of email that hits your inbox. Maybe it’s the financials in your business, or figuring out a marketing strategy that speaks directly to your ideal client. No matter how passionate you are about your job, certain tasks on your to-do list will energize you, while others drain your energy.
At this point, you may need a mindset shift. As humans, we naturally have a difficult time letting go of things that are important to us. You may feel like it’s easier to simply do the task yourself or that you can do it better than anyone else can. And, for a short period of time, you’d be correct. You know your business and its goals better than anyone else. But eventually, your talents and resources are spread too thin and the quality of work decreases.
Instead of feeling like you’re letting go of control, reframe this step as choosing what to keep close to you. Choose tasks that align with your specific set of strengths. These are the gifts that your clients need; gifts that only you can give them. Trust yourself and believe that you are empowered to delegate within your business.
After you’ve discovered potential tasks to delegate, start small. Select one or two things that you can outsource this week.
It is important to note that this first task could also be a personal one. For example, would outsourcing meal preparation or housecleaning this week restore time back to you to focus on your business? Are there errands you have to run that you could hand over to someone on your team or in your household? Start there.
No matter what task you want to delegate, there is someone with a skill set that can help take it off of your plate. It could be someone on your internal team, a local expert, or an online resource. Our team at ICT Lifestyle Management specializes in helping overwhelmed clients reclaim their time and energy as they hand over their to-do lists.
Learning to outsource and delegate allows you to operate in your “zone of genius” where you’re better able to design and plan around your own gifts and talents. This will lead to increased efficiency and creativity. You’ll be able to focus on the things you love about your business and free up your mental real estate to promote growth and sustainability (and avoid burnout!).
Your business needs you and your vision at the helm: clear-minded, passionate and intentional with your time and energy.
Kristen Townsend @kristen
Kristen is the founder of ICT Lifestyle Management. An expert problem solver, she is passionate about helping clients outsource tasks, increase efficiency and operate within their own skill sets.
Learn from Kristen and other instructors in the Hive Certified Business program!