The 5-Step Plan to
Free Your Time and Propel Your Business Forward
As a business strategist and coach for leaders of socially-conscious companies, one of the most important lessons I have for my clients is to let go.
If I’m sounding like your yoga instructor — good! Letting go and putting your trust in others is not easy, but if you’re going to grow your business, delegating tasks to trusted team members is key.
When I owned and operated a successful retail business, I struggled with delegating. I was hyper-focused on the finances and customer experience and felt like I had to control every aspect of the business — from scheduling to inventory to marketing — in order to avoid overspending and grow.
However, this financial fear and lack of delegating actually kept the business from growing. Instead of focusing on the business and the big picture, I was in the weeds, working in the
business. As a result, we went through a rough financial time until I got smart and put trust in my talented team. Once I let go of control and started to delegate, the business rebounded and grew exponentially, allowing me to eventually sell a successful business. Now that’s some namaste.
Here are the five exercises you can do right now to identify what aspects of your business you can outsource. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and let’s do this:
Step One: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
First, draw a line down the middle of your paper. Label the left column ‘strengths,’ and the right column ‘weaknesses.’ Make a list of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Your strengths often account for the activities or responsibilities that energize you. Your areas of weakness are most likely stumbling blocks or areas throughout your career where you’ve received feedback to improve.
I use strengths assessments with all of my coaching clients. If you’ve taken the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment, use your report to add to the ‘strengths’ column.
Step Two: List Areas of Responsibility
On a new piece of paper, make a list of all of your areas of responsibility. These should be large categories. Leave space below each one, as we’re going to get more specific and add detail to each bucket.
After identifying major responsibilities, list the tasks you perform for each. Get detailed here as this is where we get into what tasks you can get off your plate.
For my list, I had tasks like employee scheduling, bookkeeping, payroll, and reconciliations for daily credit card transactions.
Step Three: Calculate Your “Hourly Rate”
Using on your income today, calculate your hourly rate based on a 40-hour work week.
You’re probably working a heckuva lot more than 40 hours a week, but let’s use a standard work week for the sake of this exercise. If you’re a leader for an established company, use your full salary before taxes.
If you just started your business and have another source of income or are paying yourself, use this data to calculate your hourly rate.
Now that you have that figure, make a note of it. We’ll refer to this number again.
Step Four: Utilize Your Strengths, Get Help With Weaknesses
Take a look at your list of responsibilities. Highlight anything that aligns with your strengths, which is work that you get fired up to do. You are energized! You do this work with passion and great joy and lose track of time when you’re in this state of flow. This means that you’re working out of an area of strength.
Next, go through and underline anything that maps to your weaknesses. These are tasks that drain you or things that you’re often uncertain about. You don’t enjoy these tasks — and it shows after you procrastinate and these tasks never seem to come off your to-do list. These may be perfect tasks to delegate to a
specialist or someone whose strengths lie in this particular area.
Once you highlight and underline tasks as they map to your strengths and weaknesses, you will see some tasks that fall in the middle. They’re just things that you do, like ordering inventory or finding the perfect GIF for the joke in your email newsletter. They’re not necessarily an area of strength or weakness (unless you’re really terrible at picking out funny GIFs.)
Step Five: Separate Busy Work from Key Tasks
Look back at the hourly rate you previously calculated, and at the tasks that you underlined. Would you pay someone else your hourly rate to do those tasks? Are these value-added tasks that actually lead to sales?
You probably have tasks that you wouldn’t pay someone the hourly rate that you pay yourself. You’re overpaying for these tasks, and can put your talents elsewhere — so delegate these!
Be sure to take a look at items that fell in the middle, that weren’t quite strengths or
weaknesses either. I recommend delegating tasks that you can easily put a standardized step-by-step process to. You can trust someone to take the reigns while you provide the structure to ensure a job well done.
Delegating Your Way to a Better Business
There’s a difference between working hard and working smart. If you spend too much time on tasks that you could have easily outsourced, you won’t have enough time or energy left to work smart on the big picture of your business.
I help entrepreneurs and leaders of socially conscious companies grow a successful business that makes a difference, serves others, and leaves a legacy — all of that? Yeah, that comes out of working smart. Not just hard.
Don’t get lost in the weeds — you were born to do this, so stay focused on your future.