Learn to let go: How to delegate and outsource effectively when running a small business

14 August 2017

Perhaps it’s a point of pride: after all, who was it that got your start-up off the ground? That’s right – you. Or maybe the creation of your own business was to get away from the bureaucracy and rigidity of office life and the tasks that come with it. Either way, relinquishing a degree of power to others doesn’t always come easily to small business owners.

If you view the division of labour as just that, a laborious task which wastes time and money, then you’re not alone. But when your company is able to increase its business, and take on more employees, then haphazardly juggling tasks at the same time becomes less and less attractive, not to mention, counter-productive.

This article will look into how and what you can do to delegate, including using employee initiative to your advantage and getting the most out of freelancer outsourcing.

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What can you do to delegate?

Before delegating responsibilities to different members of the team, comes the process of identifying which tasks can be handed over, and considering whether your team has the correct tools and information to maintain your high standards. 

outsource services small business

Here, we discuss the process you should be undertaking to guarantee successful delegation and assumption of responsibility.  

  • What are you good at? What are your strengths that contribute directly to your business’ successes? These attributes are the ones you should carry on with. The things that you’re less skilled in, or ones that others could do more readily are those you should delegate. 

Make a list of the essential and inessential tasks you do - what can you pass to other people?

  • If you tend to be critical of others’ work, or you’ve thought “only I can do this”, then perhaps it’s because you’ve never explained your goals, and how to reach them, to others. Easily understood communication results in effective delegation, don’t leave others to guess how to get there. 
  • At the same time, don’t assume it’ll always be smooth sailing once you’ve delegated. Stay in the loop, check in with your employees and regularly see how they’re getting on. It’s not easy letting go if you’re set in your ways, so this is a good way to trial giving tasks to other people. 

Leveraging employee initiative 

Employee initiative might be a difficult topic to broach, as it stands almost directly opposite resisting delegation. If you’re opposed to delegating, then it logically follows that you might not be so keen on encouraging employee initiative. 

It doesn’t have to be like that though. Allowing employees to take the initiative, letting them prove that they’re driven and pro-active pays dividends to not only your company’s results but the working environment too.

Say, for instance, you’re absent one day. A team that has learnt to use its initiative instead of sticking to rigid guidelines is surely one that’s better prepared for different eventualities. Over time, creative, fearless decision-making that’s been encouraged rather than stifled results in company growth and an increase in your team’s own skills.

Recognise and appreciate the initiative that your employees have shown. Qualities that were previously unseen, such as natural leadership or keen decisiveness, help to strengthen the company as a whole. Reward those in the team who go above and beyond.

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Outsourcing to trusted freelancers

Outsourcing to freelancers is becoming increasingly popular for small businesses, and it’s a boom that’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Put simply, an outsourced workforce is - to an extent - efficient, easy and has the potential to improve a company’s bottom line. Narrowing things down, so you’re left with core business tasks allows you to focus on the things that are important to the day-to-day running of your business.

Tasks that involve specialist knowledge like graphic design and web development, and only require their skills temporarily or on an ad-hoc basis are well worth outsourcing. Likewise, repetitive tasks like data entry can easily be completed by freelancers.

outsourcing small business

A potential problem is the unfamiliarity it lends. There’s a chance you won’t ever meet the freelancers you’re working with; so, you’ll lose that face-to-face relationship that office life brings. How do you find someone you can trust? Online resources such as People Per Hour and Upwork host a huge pool of freelancers to choose from, helping you find someone to suit the needs of your business with ease.

As with delegating tasks, you should be up front and transparent with your freelancing partners: set goals, expectations and pricing out from the go, avoid micro-managing, and check in with them when necessary. 

And, once you’ve successfully delegated responsibilities to your team, and outsourced tasks to skilled freelancers, you are free to tackle the bigger business matters, and work to stimulate growth.  

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The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

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