Delegating is a skill! If you find yourself overwhelmed with tasks to do, constantly feel like you are just fighting fires to stay on top, or treading water, then delegating is something you should seriously consider.

When we decide to start a business, we naturally wear every hat, for example, carrying out tasks in finance, compliance, social media and digital, sales, customer service and more. We cannot all be great at every task and it can pay dividends for someone who specialises in other areas to do this task instead of yourself.

You may feel that you are not turning over enough income to warrant delegating or outsourcing, but then find yourself in a situation where you are not able to take the business forward because your concentration, time and effort is in the business and not on it.

How do I decide which tasks should be delegated?

There are lots of different tools available for us to be able to evaluate the roles and tasks within the business, such as brainstorming sessions or psychometric testing. Brainstorming identifies all the tasks you are doing in your working week and puts a value on them to see if this is worth your time. Once this is written down in front of you to see, it easier to take that step in the right direction to start delegating.

We all have our limits in terms of what we can manage effectively and efficiently and it’s important to recognise when your workload is having a negative effect on your output and general wellbeing.

Psychometric testing identifies your key strength within your business. This enables you to know your weaknesses and strengths, to know and understand what support you need in certain areas of your business, to make it run more effectively and efficiently and also to be able to grow with a supportive team and infrastructure to your business.

Being a sole trader means it can be hard to make the decision as you have no one to share responsibility and decision making with. It can be beneficial to have a mentor or business coach in this situation to provide support and see your business from another angle, to support or to help your decision to delegate tasks.

I’ve made the decision to delegate, what next?

Once you have made the decision to delegate, you can choose to do this gradually to build trust, or all at once.

Choosing someone to outsource to can be a full or part time member of staff or, increasingly, a virtual assistant/remote support or a freelance team member. Both come with pros and cons and it is helps to write a list against these to see what is most beneficial to you and your business.

Some people are naturally good at communicating delegation and others struggle, but we all need help and support and the key is the way we communicate the delegation of tasks to ensure the output is met in a timely manner.

Increasingly it’s harder to keep up with the workload as you see emails coming in at all hours, as people are working longer days or inflexible working conditions. When you are a business owner, it is hard not to react to that email coming in when you are at an event or important family occasion. This would be an opportunity to recognise you could have hired some ad-hoc support to allow you to enjoy your time off.

Recognising that we need to work smarter not harder is a key point and constant evaluation to your routine in work and life, helping you to know when you are becoming overloaded with the never-ending to-do list and tasks.