The Business Owner’s Guide to Delegation

As a small business owner, delegating some of your responsibilities and tasks probably doesn’t come very easily to you. Your business is like your child, it can be hard to let someone else be in charge of certain aspects. Delegating requires you to relinquish control of different areas of your business in order for you to devote more time to the business as a whole. 

Without delegation, business owners often spread themselves too thin while struggling to find balance and trying to do it all, which can be dangerous for the success of the business. Delegation is a critical skill for business owners to have, even though you may not find yourself willingly giving away control, because there’s no way someone else can do things for your business as well as you can, right?

With the right approach, mindset, and methods when it comes to delegation and division of labor, you can become a master of time management and allow all aspects of your business to flourish and prosper.

How To Accept The Fact That You Need To Delegate

Let go of the “I can do it all” Mindset

Just because you think you can do it all doesn’t mean you necessarily have to. Doing everything inevitably means you probably aren’t doing everything as well as you could be. By delegating, you are able to focus on fewer tasks, and devote more time and effort to those tasks, resulting in a higher level of productivity, quality, and less stress for you.

Typical Tasks Business Owners Delegate

We should start off by addressing the tasks most business owners usually choose to delegate. These tasks include:

Web Design and Maintenance

Unless you happen to be in the tech business or have extensive knowledge when it comes to web design, this is an area of expertise where it may be necessary to delegate tasks. Learning how to design and update a website regularly, on top of everything else you do to run a small business, can take up a lot of your time, time you could be spending elsewhere. 

Accounting and Bookkeeping 

This is one of the most common tasks business owners choose to delegate, as it requires specialized skill, attention to detail, and a good amount of time to upkeep. Outsourcing the accounting and bookkeeping of your business can be extremely helpful if you don’t feel comfortable managing the numbers of your business all on your own, or if you’re looking to avoid the headache of learning the ins and outs of business accounting.

Digital Marketing 

Similarly to web design, unless you are radically familiar with marketing online using email campaigns, social media, or similar methods, delegating the digital marketing aspect of your business can save you a great deal of time, and can definitely lead to an increase in profits in the long run. Think of delegating your digital marketing as an investment, rather than an expense! 

Customer Service

On top of everything else you have to do on a daily basis to keep business running smoothly, taking breaks in your busy work day to field customer questions and complaints can often feel like the last thing you have time for. Why don’t you let someone else handle it? Outsourcing your customer service can take a huge burden off of your shoulders and gives you one less thing to worry about during your workday.

Tech Support

Even if you’re quite tech savvy, you shouldn’t have to waste your time working to solve tech issues and troubleshoot tech problems when you likely have a million other business related things going on each day. As a business owner, you shouldn’t have to worry about fixing the wifi, refilling ink cartridges, or assisting with computer crash issues. Delegating to a tech service company or individual can save you time, as well as provide advice and guidance towards new technology that may be an asset to your business.

How to successfully delegate

Choose the right person and provide as much information up front as possible

When deciding to delegate, make sure you’re choosing the right person for the tasks you’d like to delegate. If you’re looking to delegate your digital marketing tasks, it likely wouldn’t make sense for you to hire a tech support company, unless they happened to also be skilled at digital marketing. To find quality companies, firms, and individuals to hire to take care of some of your small business needs, try to get references from other professionals or professional websites, such as the testimonials page of a potential company’s website.

After choosing the firm or individual that feels right for you and your needs, make sure you provide as much information up front as possible about the different tasks you need completed. Provide them with details, exactly what you’d like them to do on a day to day basis, what a completed project should look like, and deadline details. Giving explicit details will help the employee to be as efficient as possible, achieve a result you’re happy with, and will help your employee complete a job just as well as if you had done it yourself, which keeps you from feeling the need to micromanage.

Another smart delegation idea is to set up checkpoints to make sure that everything is on track and being completed the way you want it to. Checkpoints offer you and your employee a place to collaborate, regroup, make edits, and create the best final product possible, exceeding your goals and expectations.

There you have it. A quick business owner’s guide to delegation. Delegating can be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business, as long as you remember to let go of your “I can do it all” mindset, delegate tasks you don’t feel comfortable doing yourself, choose the right person to delegate to, communicate often and avoid micromanaging! By delegating aspects of your business, you’re on the track to a more productive and profitable company.

 

We are here to help you navigate so schedule a call to discuss your specific business goals

Why Your Small Business Needs a Consultant

Small Business Consultant

Have you ever found yourself wanting an outside eye to help out your company? Have you felt the need for someone with more specialized skills to assist in a certain area of your business? Do you need someone to help identify problems within your company? Do you just need more time to focus on the day to day tasks and would like to outsource some of your other work in order to supplement your business and your staff? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in need of a small business consultant! 

What is a small business consultant?

Small business consultants are professionals who often specialize in a more niche aspect of business, such as an attorney skilled in business law, certified public accountants (CPAs) or even consulting firms which offer a variety of business-related services, like marketing, management, sales, or advertising. The more common types of consultants include strategy and management consultants, operations consultants, IT consultants, human resources consultants, and sales and marketing consultants.

 

The different types of small business consulting services

To discover which type of consultant may be right for you, dive into learning a bit more about different types of consultants and what they do.

Digital Strategy and Management Consultants can help with expanding your product offerings, widening your marketing footprint, developing a business plan, reorganizing your business for efficiency and cost savings, or even buyout another company. They can assist with your business’ social media, market research, online marketing, and website development.

Operations Consultants can help with increasing your process quality and efficiency. They may work with project management, develop new operation plans, helping to reduce steps or mistakes and increase your profit margins.

IT Consultants are one of the most popular types of consultants, with the rapidly changing pace of modern technology. Different things IT consultants can do include maintenance and support services, application development, application integration, to name a few. They can also assist in updating operating software, updating servers, upgrading internet providers, phones, and much more.

Human Resources Consultants are often used to work on employee needs. They can be helpful in recruiting, training, teaching, and improving employee retention. You may also use them as leadership and communication development specialists, and use them to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your staff..

Creative Consultants, PR and Media Consultants are becoming more popular with the expansion of media and digital marketing. The consulting practices and services may offer include graphic design, videography, photography, branding, promotions, campaigns, outreach, events, and communications.

Sales and Marketing Consultants create marketing strategies, launch advertising campaigns, build a high level cohesive brand, make sure you are generating good business, even initiate the sales process.

So, why would you need one of these types of consultants?

Why you may need a consultant

There are many reasons why a small business may need a consultant. You may want added expertise, a fresh set of eyes, a seasoned problem solver and idea generator, a trainer, an influx of new life into the business, or an objective standpoint on business matters.

A small business consultant can offer…

Added expertise and specialized skills

Perhaps the most common reason small business owners hire consultants is for business growth. They allow them to gain access to special skills they may not have among in-house employees. These skills can range from marketing to finance specialists to recruiters. Hiring consultants makes it easy for you to gain access to expertise and specialized skills on demand, whenever you may need.

Hiring consultants is a cost-effective way to supplement your staff, too. While small business management consulting rates are usually a bit higher than a full-time employee, the money saved by only hiring a consultant when their skills are needed, rather than full time, will be more cost effective in the long term.

A fresh set of eyes, an idea generator

When dealing with an issue or important decisions in your life, do you often turn to friends and family for advice? It can be useful to do this in a business, too! Because consultants have a track record of working with many different companies, they may have seen an issue that you may come across in your business, and often they will have a creative solution to problems or experience in handling something you might not have dealt with before. Consultants are seasoned problem solvers who are able to offer fresh, innovative ideas that clients may not have been able to come up with on their own.

A trainer or teacher

Consultants may help companies keep employees on top of new business trends or developments in their field, consultants may be hired to teach. Consultants can also be useful in training new staff when you don’t have the time to do so yourself. 

An influx of new life into the business

No one likes change, least of all corporate America. But change can be good, and often, change is necessary. Consultants can help usher change into an organization seamlessly, whether it be through staff leadership retreats, workshops, e-learning, training programs, new technology, or helping to teach a new business ideology or way of communication, consultants can provide those much needed new methods and ideas into your business, as well as your staff!

Image Source: Getty Images 

Consultants are a valuable resource for any small business, and the impact they can have on a company should not be underestimated. If your annual revenue has been the same or declining in the last 3 years, your business isn’t serving you, you need help managing your growth curve, or your team isn’t hitting goals month over month, you should consider hiring a business consultant.

We are here to help you navigate so schedule a call to discuss your specific business goals

How to Achieve Resilient Growth Throughout the Business Cycle

The world is currently in the longest business cycle since the National Bureau of Economic Research has kept records. Investors, executives, and policy makers scratch their heads in wonder as they try to make sense of this new phenomenon. The question many companies want to know is where are we in the business cycle? Are we at the peak with growth about to come tumbling down, or still on the climb where rising growth levels can be expected?

In the U.S. there are clear indicators that we may be at the peak. These include the lowest unemployment in 50 years, rising incomes across all races and job levels, a stock market that continues to reach historic highs (even with the recent volatility sparked by the spread of coronavirus), and a GDP that has been expanding for more than 10 years, beating other expansion cycles. Simultaneously, we see other indicators associated with the trough of the business cycle, including low interest rates and low inflation.

Despite the macroeconomic uncertainty and the unpredictable business cycle, companies need to develop their investment and growth strategies. The question they face is how do you build growth and resilience, irrespective of the stage of the business cycle? Fortunately, our research provides an answer.

Buck the business cycle. Strategize like a market creator.

As we identified in our research, there are two types of strategy. One is market-competing strategy that focuses on beating rivals in existing markets – what we think of as red ocean strategy. The other is market-creating strategy that focuses on generating new markets which we think of as blue ocean strategy.

In our research journey over the last 30 years, we found that while both types of strategy have their role to play, when it comes to growth resilience blue-ocean market-creating moves stand out. They not only unlock a growth edge when economic conditions are favorable, they also generate resilient growth in the face of business cycle downturns and unfavorable economic conditions. How so?

When economic conditions are favorable, all firms tend to benefit by a rising economic tide. But it is market-creating firms — and the leap in consumer surplus they unlock through their innovative value — that gives them a growth edge, as they not only capture a greater share of rising demand, but also pull all-new buyers into the market.

Adverse economic conditions only magnify the growth edge attached to market-creating moves, because, when the economy is in a downturn, there is a natural flight to value for money. Whether they’re short on cash or simply overly cautious, people become far more selective about the products and services they choose to buy and those they stop purchasing. Those forgone products and services tend to offer incremental value, while the chosen ones offer a leap in value, or the largest consumer surplus, that makes people’s lives better. Under these conditions, market-creating moves — which break away from existing offerings and offer buyers a leap in consumer surplus — fast become the products and services of choice, allowing them to better buck contracting markets and rebound faster.

Look no further than the companies that rapidly bucked the 2008 financial crisis – Apple, Amazon, Salesforce, Cirque du Soleil, or even the U.K. charity, Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day. All achieved a rapid bounce back and exceptional growth despite the economic crisis. And each countered a reliance on market-competing moves with a strong bias toward market-creating strategies that offered buyers a leap in value.

Contrast this with Microsoft, a market-competing dominator in its highly profitable Windows and Office products. It wasn’t until Satya Nadella, its new CEO, recently shifted Microsoft’s to a balance of market-competing and market-creating strategies that Microsoft again became a rising star. After 10 years of an essentially flat stock price, Microsoft’s new market-creating focus has catapulted it into the rarified $1 trillion market-cap club. Its new cloud-based product Azure is set to become a new growth engine for the company.

How to build resilient growth

So, what actions should companies take to best manage growth through market cycles? Here are four pieces of advice borne out of our 30-year research journey to the blue ocean.

First, to create growth resilience, focus on building a healthy, balanced portfolio of market-competing and market-creating strategic moves, of red and blue ocean strategies. Both are important: market-competing moves to generate today’s cash; market-creating moves to ensure tomorrow’s growth. Relying on market-competing moves alone, as many companies do, won’t build growth resilience across the business cycle. It will hold you hostage to swings in the business cycle.

Second, don’t wait for growth to slow to make market-creation a strategic priority. Act now. In a downturn you want to be buffered by your market-creating move, and that can only happen when your market-creating move is already launched or set to launch. It is in economic downturns that you need to rely on the resilience of market-creating growth, and for that you need to be prepared in advance.

Third, ensure that your market-creating efforts are a core component of your corporate strategy and not siloed into a function, effectively a side show. If you want to achieve market-creation you need to make it a priority. How best to know if you do or don’t? Check who owns the initiative. Is it your top management — like at Apple, Amazon, or Microsoft under the leadership of Nadella? If not, it should be. That sets an important tone, driven from the top, that market creation is front and center to your company’s future.

Lastly, remember technology itself doesn’t create markets. What creates new markets is the use of technology. Is it linked to value innovation or not? Will your product or service make a positive change in peoples’ lives, and hence unlock a windfall of consumer surplus? There are lots of technology companies out there. But the ones that achieve resilient growth across cycles — not only in an upturn — are the ones like Amazon, Apple, and Netflix that link innovation to value. That’s why so many people are loyal to them.

Don’t wait for monetary policy adjustments or fiscal stimulus to propel your growth. You have limited — if any — control over these. Instead, look to yourself. The good news is you need not be driftwood on the roaring ocean of the business cycle, rising and falling with the vicissitudes of the market. We can all be the captain of our ship when we strike the right balance between market-competing and market-creating efforts. Red ocean and blue ocean strategies are not a binary choice. Companies need both. But to strike a healthy balance, most companies need to put a lot more heft behind market-creating moves and anchoring these efforts in the heart of corporate strategy.

 

*We are here to help you navigate so schedule a call to discuss your specific business goals