Delegating_body.jpgBy Cathie Ericson.

The old adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” is often the mindset of small business owners. After all, the majority have built their businesses from the ground up, and it can be hard to relinquish control of any aspect.

But that mentality could be holding you back. For one thing, it could contribute to burnout: 85 percent of small business owners say they work more than 40 hours per week on average, with 30 percent reporting more than 60 hours in an average week.

Failure to delegate can impact your business in another way: It can affect your bottom line.

Key reasons to delegate

“When you delegate, you have more time to nurture higher revenue producing opportunities,” says Sharron Senter, a small business marketing consultant with more than a decade of marketing and business operations experience.

Phil Strazzulla, founder of LifeGuides, an online employer branding platform, admits that he’s not a fan of delegating, but has found that if he tries to control every aspect of his business, it stalls. For example, in the early days of his business he taught himself to code and used his expertise to build his company’s initial product. But as the business grew, he knew that his main strengths were in attracting new customers and building revenue, not coding.

Delegating_PQ.jpg“I finally relinquished the coding responsibilities to my team and immediately found myself with 50 percent more time to work on growing our revenues,” he says. “Clearly that was a smart tradeoff, and one I wish I'd realized earlier in our company's life.”

Senter advises owners to use that newly available time to plan for both the short- and long-term growth of the business. She recommends business owners spend focused time reviewing such data as customer feedback, sales trends, website traffic, competitor activity, alternative sales channels and marketing communication vehicles. “This allows small business owners to find additional avenues to create new revenue streams and more efficient sales channels.”

What to delegate
When you have an IT or marketing team in place, you shouldn’t hesitate to delegate related tasks. In fact, as Strazzulla found, delegating empowers your staff to realize that you trust them with critical work. 

But even if you don’t have a cadre of specialists, there are functions that any small business owner can jettison to free up time. These include such tasks as:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Answering phones and routine emails
  • Handling social media, including responding to comments and answering questions
  • Creating billing reports and invoices
  • Ordering supplies

Senter recommends that small business owners ask their employees or virtual assistants to have the first crack at developing the scripts and processes that will be followed. “This underscores the spirit of delegating, while also allowing you to retain some degree of control by identifying what’s missing and finalizing the documents,” she says.

Learning how to delegate does not come naturally to most small business owners, but it’s an important skill that can be learned. Your staff will know you trust them, and your time can be better spent growing your business, not managing the day-to-day details.


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