Delegating Tips to Make Your Life Easier

A tax accountant arranging miniature human figures within a system tree.

With the guidance of a tax advisor, consider freeing up an hour of your time each day to gain an extra month each year. As a business owner, this additional time could be used to expand your enterprise or take a well-deserved four-week vacation.

The following article gives you four simple ideas that will help you delegate tasks and free up some of your valuable time.

1.     Work out what you should be doing

Many small business owners spend too much time doing things they should not do. It’s natural to get involved in everything when you are in start-up mode – after all, and the funds are not there to invest in more people. But as soon as your business starts to grow, it is imperative that you work out how you can best contribute to your business and let others do the rest. Focusing on just three big-ticket items can make a massive difference. For example, as a business owner, you might decide that you should be spending your time:

  • Closing large, complex sales
  • Nurturing major customers
  • Developing your people

If that’s your choice, then get everything else off your plate. Your starting point should be to list everything you do over a two-week period, then make a plan to remove all items but your top three from your list. It might take you a couple of years to do that, perhaps at one or two items per month, but when you get there, you and your business will be transformed.

2.     Plan your day the evening before

There is nothing wrong with checking your email before you go to bed at night. While doing that, look at your calendar for the following day and plan how to get everything done. If you regularly don’t get things done, it could be because you are overscheduling. Here are some rules to follow to help you achieve what needs to be done each day:

  • Keep your days light. For example, you might find that any more than three sales call a day is too much, as you don’t have the time to promptly follow up on them.
  • Deal with the most challenging thing first. This could be a call to a disgruntled customer or a conversation you must have with your 2IC. Get it out of the way early; otherwise, it will weigh on your mind all day.
  • Decide on three things you will achieve the following day, then make sure you achieve them when you’re planning out the next day. You’re much better at ticking off three things daily than having a list of 25 items and achieving nothing.

3.     Learn to say no

World-renowned thought leader and author Jim Collins advises business owners to say no 20 times more than they say yes as their business grows. How many times do you say no? To customers, to new business, to your team? As your business matures, you don’t need to take on everything that walks through the door. Instead, you should focus on exactly who and what forms your market and your best buyer. You are in control, and you should build your business by design to do what you want with whom you want. As a key performance indicator, the number of times you say ‘no’ during a week must be up there.

4.     Change the way you respond to emails and phone

Many business owners find their inbox is way too big, and it becomes overwhelming. They also cite emails from customers as a significant source of interruption. We know of business owners who have on their email footers that they only check their email twice a day, and if it’s urgent, please get in touch with the office by phone. It’s a clever approach. You should turn off those annoying new email alerts and never look at your email when working on something else. There is typically nothing so urgent that you can’t wait 90 minutes.

Similarly, just because you have a mobile phone doesn’t mean you need to answer it the second it rings. Consider using your mobile as a voicemail service. Tell your customers they can leave a message, and you will reply within a few hours. That is almost always good enough.

Remember, technology is terrific, but don’t let it own you.

If you can learn to master these four tactics, then you’ll be more able to delegate. In turn, you’ll find yourself with more valuable time. Try to set yourself the goal of freeing up a month of your time over the course of a year, and reward yourself when you get there. You’ll be glad you did.

Kreston Stanley Williamson Team

*Correct as of April 2016

*Disclaimer – Kreston Stanley Williamson has produced this article to serve its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek advice about your circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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