Sorry for the belated Top 5. I was in the middle of drafting this post yesterday when something important pulled me away from my computer and, lo and behold, Wednesday was upon me!
Most of you know that I preach “do what you do best and outsource the rest.” A lot of people understand this and believe it. However, putting this into action, that is, focusing on what drives the true results (e.g. profits) in your business and delegating everything else to 3rd party service providers seems to cause a big disconnect with most small business owners and entrepreneurs.
If you cannot delegate, your business growth will be limited. Maybe not now, but at some point in the future you will find yourself spinning your wheels.
In this spirit, the Tuesday Top 5 for this week highlights the reasons I have found for why people can’t/won’t delegate. My hope is that you might notice a few of these traits in yourself and take necessary remedial actions.
1. Control Freak-ism
You know this when you see it. This occurs when people absolutely have to be the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer in their business. This has been expounded upon by countless gurus (think E-myth by Michael Gerber) but it is still a defining characteristic for the American small business owner.
If you always think that you can “do it better yourself,” “nobody can do it better” or “good help is hard to find” you may fall into the category of control freakism.
2. Communication Deficiency
2. Communication Deficiency
Effective communication (I discussed this in last week’s 30 second Thursday) is a huge reason that people don’t delegate. For someone to do something for you, they have to know what needs to be done. If you can’t tell them what needs to be done, or what you want to be done, then it won’t get done. Herein lies the problem: Being able to clearly communicate priorities, tasks, processes, what decisions need to be made independently and how problems should be troubleshooted.
If you cannot pour out of your head what you want and how you want it done, you may be hitting communication roadblocks that will prevent you from getting to the next level.
3. Process Breakdown
Not having well documented processes and/or methods for performing tasks in your business will prevent you from being able to delegate and/or outsource these functions. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that I see entrepreneurs trip over. Many people get caught up in thinking that they need to develop complex flow charts and manuals in order to have effective processes. However, I think that having a document with bullet points or numbered steps and checklists can be just as effective.
4. People/Vendor Selection
If you have been burned at all by a bad hiring of vendor selection decision, you can quickly develop an aversion to letting other people handle business tasks that are important. Trust is important in any business relationship, whether you are delegating inside or outside your business.
I encourage everyone to carefully evaluate outsourcing providers before engaging in long term relationships. The same should be true with employees (think 90 day probationary period). The ultimate solution to this is to make your processes system dependent, so that you can plug in vendors or employees. This will help mitigate (but not eliminate) your people risk. The bottom line is that there are going to be people and vendor problems in your business, the only question is how well you can deal with it and not let it divert your focus.
This one shouldn’t surprise you. How many people do you know that say things like: “nah…I’ll just take care of it myself.” This boils down to mental laziness, and reverts back to “control freakism” in a way. If you are mentally lazy, you won’t take the time to document what you do, what you want done, how you want it done and how you will measure success or failure. It’s much easier, at first, to say “I’ll just do it” instead of creating a system that allows you to delegate the task to someone else so that you can focus on your core business and enjoying life.
Well, there we have it. I hope that you can take these things to heart and evaluate them against your own practices. Incremental improvements can add up quickly. Make sure you stay a step ahead of your competitors and add more value to you customers by focusing on what you do best and outsourcing the rest!