sbrmanSmall business owners are superheroes! Ask a small business owner how many hats she wears and you’re likely to get an earful. However, no matter how much you can do, you probably can’t do everything required to effectively run and grow a small business all by yourself. And, you probably don’t want to.

After all, most entrepreneurs begin with a passion and turn it into a business—and that passion is probably not for the daily ins-and-outs of actually running a business. Luckily, there are highly talented people out there who do have great passion for things like accounting, and taxes, and office management. Finding such a person, or even better such a team, is the key to being able to successfully delegate tasks that others can perform better than you can, so that you can concentrate on the big picture and ensure the success of your small business.

In a recent Entrepreneur post Richard Branson writes about learning to delegate, and how one of his early hires played a critical role in the success of Virgin. Branson writes:

When you are ready to make your first hires, look for people who understand your passion, want to add to your ideas and can envision ways to make improvements. Keep in mind that you do not want yes-men or clones: you want people on board who have strong views on how to scale up the business over the long term, along with the skills and presence of mind to push the company forward in the short term and the ability to manage crucial day-to-day tasks.

Delegating to these people will free you to plan for the future and find new ways to develop your company…

Delegating not only frees you from tasks for which others are better suited, it also saves your company money. This 2010 infographic from UK company Timelody works through a calculation to show that failure to delegate work that does not require a specific employees’ expertise costs businesses approximately €14,000 ($21,189) in lost revenue each year.

Of course, simply handing off a mundane task, or a task you just don’t want to do, to anyone who happens to be around does not effective delegation make. Not only is it important to build a team of complamentary skill sets that is capable of filling your gaps, it is important to know when to delegate and when to keep a task for yourself.

Once again, a Dilbert cartoon nicely illustrates the point:
dilbert.com strip 03-11-2001

How well do you delegate? Take the Mind Tools Quiz on delegation to find out. Answer the questions, and then take a look at your score and the score explanations about what, when, to whom, and how to delegate.

If you find your delegation skills are lacking, consider taking the free Park Scholarships Delegating course. Run by NC State University to support their scholarship students, the course is free for anyone to take at their own pace. The Delegating module consists of seven segments covering multiple topics on delegation including why people don’t delegate, why you should delegate, how to delegate, what and to whom you should delegate, and the delegation process. There are self-administered quizzes (with instant answer feedback), and worksheets included with every session to help you master the concepts. For a deeper dive into the topic, check out the course Reference Materials page for links to books and articles about delegation.

So even if you are a small business superhero, you can help ensure that your business thrives by becoming a super-delegator as well.

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I’m the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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