The business owner’s guide to smart delegation


It’s common knowledge that being a business owner requires you to wear several hats, especially at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. Starting a business requires a unique juggling act between many areas of the operation. However, as you grow, taking on too many roles can do your business more harm than good.

When to delegate.

When delegating work the rule of thumb is to hand over tasks that fall outside your area of expertise. If you have limited knowledge or skills to perform a certain task, chances are you will waste time and be less productive than someone who is better trained in that area (The result of which would be a half-baked outcome). Further, the time taken up for these assignments could have been used for more important and productive activities, such as innovation or networking. Some of the roles that you can consider delegating include:

  • Online Marketing – This encompasses the management of your website and social media accounts, as well as digital marketing campaigns and initiatives. Large companies typically have an entire department dedicated to online marketing. Because there is so much involved these tasks can become very tedious and time-consuming.
  • Customer Service – Engaging with customers is crucial to the success of your business. Customer service encompasses assisting customers with their needs pre, during and post-sale. Like online marketing, this can be a full-time job especially if you want to do well by your customers. If this is becoming the case, it may be time to bring someone else in to assist with answering customer inquiries, developing loyalty or gratitude programs, and sometimes physically attending to customers’ needs.
  • Reporting – A business has many moving parts and it’s critical to monitor each of its facets to ensure that these are running properly. These include such areas as finance, sales and marketing, human resource and operations. Reports help you as a business owner to have a feel of his or her current business state and the information can then be used to plan for the next financial year. Tracking all of these can easily leave a business owner with no time for anything else. By assigning this task to someone else, the business owner can concentrate on other, more important areas of the business.

Things that you should be doing.

There are certain things that either shouldn’t be delegated or are too personal to hand over. There will be areas that only the business owner will be able to do effectively until the business has reached a certain level of growth. Some of these owner sensitive areas are listed below.

  • Product Development (Innovation) – Innovation is key to maintaining and growing your customer base. If you keep offering your customers what you’ve started with, chances are that they will get bored or find a better alternative. Constantly updating your products and expanding your product range will give your customers something to look forward to.
  • Hiring – Hiring the wrong people can be costly for your business. The vetting process is time-consuming but necessary for finding the person that would be the perfect fit for your business. The business owner is the best judge of whether or not a candidate is right for the job he or she is applying for. It is also the job of the business owner to set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for each employee. Once your business has grown to a point where recruitment and HR are becoming a full-time job, then it may be time to consider hiring a HR specialist, however until then, this responsibility should fall with the business owner.
  • Budget – The budget of a business for all its activities is usually guided by its previous or forecasted revenues. However as the business owner, you can make tweaks here and there depending on the goals and priorities that you have set for your business. Whatever these may be, the business owner ultimately needs to decide the best use of the business’ available funds and where best to allocate these.
  • Strategy – The business owner should no doubt be on top of the overarching business direction and strategy of the business. The strategy is an extension of the vision which the business owner has set prior (seeking help from experts in strategy development can be wise).  Decisions ultimately fall on the hands of the business owner and rightfully so.
  • Networking – Networking has many benefits for a business and should be given time and attention. Through networking, a business owner can make connections, get referrals, stumble upon opportunities and increase brand awareness. There is no better person to network than the person who knows the ins and out of the business.

Running a business is not easy. It has many moving parts and each part needs attention in order to function efficiently. As much as you may want to take control of every part of your business, it is not advisable to do so as your business grows. It is best to delegate activities that fall outside of your expertise, as this way you can be assured of achieving your desired results while not wasting your valuable time. The best use of your time is to oversee the core functions of the business – the sensitive functions that only the business owner can do effectively.