Let me tell you a story you might relate to. It was seventh grade, and we’d been assigned a group project about economic structures in ancient Rome. A group project. And the day it was due, Tyler friggin’ Carleton didn’t bring the coins. The silly coins made out of aluminum foil, painted gold to show we understood how currency worked. So all our grades took a hit. From then on, I was deeply suspicious of group projects.
Maybe you can relate. Business owners and entrepreneurs are often a pull-ourselves-up-by-the-bootstraps sort of people. Building a business from square one isn’t for the faint of heart. And if you were burned, like I was, you may have found that you are the only one you trust to do things right.
It makes sense. You’re a go-getter, and like figuring things out for yourself. Doing things yourself allows you to have more control. And for someone with a small business, there’s always a certain amount of pride in knowing every nook and cranny, every detail of how things work.
But holding onto this mentality will damage your business.
I’m serious. Unfortunately, or fortunately, a successful business soon grows too big for the initial team to handle. And the skill of delegation becomes necessary as you expand. Essential, even.
If you’ve always been a do-it-yourself kind of person, this loss of control can be uncomfortable. But if you don’t learn to delegate well, growth becomes impossible.
Without delegating, efficiency and productivity will plummet.
While this might seem counterintuitive (after all, you know how to do something right), the truth is that doing everything yourself has major downsides. For maximum efficiency and productivity, you need to delegate tasks both to outside professionals, and to your employees.
Firstly, you should start by outsourcing the skill sets that you learned, slap-dash, when starting your business. They weren’t the primary reason you went into business: they were the necessary evils.
A great example of this is accounting. You may be good at tracking your own books (or not), but as you grow, the money management of your company will become increasingly complicated. Accountants are trained for this stuff. And let’s be real: filling out spreadsheets is not the best use of your time.
Your time is best spent on higher-level, big-picture tasks. After all, restaurant owners generally don’t cook in the kitchen once they franchise. And at a certain level, business owners shouldn’t be tracking the finicky details of their accounts by themselves.
Secondly, delegation reaps rewards in productivity down the chain. We’ve all been in a job where the menial nature of the work is… mind-numbing, to say the least. Effective management provides employees with tasks that they are not only capable of doing, but have a certain degree of freedom.
This sends a message that you not only trust your employees, but also that their opinions and choices within the project parameters are respected. This reaps further rewards in team trust and company loyalty.
It’s true that while training new skills, or going back and forth on the sixth email exchange about expected outcomes, delegating may feel less efficient. However, in the long run, delegating time-consuming tasks and trusting your employees is the only way to grow.
Without delegating, you risk making expensive mistakes.
Remember those slap-dash skills I mentioned above? While you may pride yourself on being able to do everything, you will get to a point where you’ll discover that while you can, you shouldn’t. That’s because when you delegate, you’ll find people who can accomplish these tasks better, and with less risk of making costly errors.
One example I used above was accounting. Let’s look at that again. As I mentioned above, it is not the best use of your time to keep track of the tax laws, exemptions, deductions, etc. that seem to be changing every year. But that is exactly what an accountant’s job is. Not only that, but as a specialist, they have an eye on what your business is doing, and can help with improved decision-making based on their expertise.
Moreover, accounting is a specialized field, and once your business grows, messing it up can have radical implications. You don’t want to be slapped with a fine or audit just as your business is taking off. That’s an example of an expensive mistake.
Another example is in the field of advertising and branding. Whether you train an employee to keep your social media up-to-date, or hire out to an agency, getting your name out there in order to find buyers and clients is a task best handed off to someone else. Growth can’t occur without a specific, targeted plan. And you can be the one developing that plan! That’s the sophisticated, higher-level thinking that an owner should be engaging in. But it’s in your best interest to delegate and collaborate in order to turn that plan into a reality.
Without delegating, your business may not suffer, but you will.
Okay, let’s say, theoretically, you don’t need to sleep, you’re an expert in every part of your business’ management, and you can do everything yourself.
...do you really want to?
There’s no faster way for a business to fail than for its owner to give up because they’ve burned themselves out. If you have trust issues, remind yourself why you started a business in the first place. Wasn’t it for the freedom? The flexibility? You probably wanted to develop new strategies, be on the cutting edge, and think bigger picture. You didn’t start a business to balance a cash register.
Just because you had to do these tasks in the past, doesn’t mean you have to now. Flexibility and forward-thinking strategies in your company’s management are key to growth.
So take a breath, delegate what you need to, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, flourishing business. And if you’re ready to entrust your accounting to a quick, reliable, and accurate company, contact Know Your Numbers.