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5 Things Business Owners Should Never Delegate

21. August 2017 15:40

woman leading a business meeting

As your business grows, so does your to-do list. It only makes sense to delegate responsibility so you can keep your eye on the big picture. But before you start, make sure you read these five tips from successful entrepreneurs on what you shouldn't outsource or delegate.

1. Don't Delegate Your Mission

Business coach Jenn Elwell (@jenn_elwell) says small-business owners need to be in control of the direction their company is taking. That means never delegating tasks that set "the mission, values, tone, and voice for their brand."

She says these tasks including things like…

"Outsourcing these types of tasks could mean that their business is headed in a direction other than the one they desire," says Elwell.

2. Don't Delegate Sales

"Sales is the lifeblood of a small business," says Rahul D. Yodh, principal with the attorney search firm Link Legal (@linklegalsearch). "You cannot delegate such an important task."

According to Yodh, you're in a unique position to tell the story of your business. Other employees may be familiar with it, but you've been there since the beginning. Your experience allows you to tell clients about your services in a way that others can't.

"A small thing like being able to deliver your company's story passionately and effectively could be something that differentiates your small business from competitors," says Yodh.

Executive coach CJ McClanahan (@cjmccoach) agrees that no one can sell a company's product better than the owner. He says that's particularly important because sales follow the 80/20 rule.

"80 percent of profits come from 20 percent of the projects / customers," McClanahan says. He recommends small-business owners be "intimately involved" with the deals that generate the majority of their profits.

For tips on attracting more clients, check out "Keep Your Sales Pipeline Full with These 3 Proven Networking Strategies."

3. Don't Delegate Core Strategy Decisions

Eric Wall, CEO of virtual assistant provider Equivity (@equivityva) says he's a proponent of handing off certain projects, such as bookkeeping or marketing management. But he says small business owners should hold tightly to any tasks related to core strategy. These may include…

"If you trust an outside entity or even a proven internal support person with the rudder that steers the ship," says Wall, "you may end up losing control of your organizational vision."

4. Don't Delegate Financial Reviews

While you may need help working through your business's financials, McClanahan says you never want to pass on the monthly review. This is because "businesses are created for one reason – to generate profit." But he says owners are often so caught up with top-line revenue that they neglect the gross margin and even the bottom line.

"I've seen owners work their fingers to the bone and make almost no money because they didn’t understand the numbers."

Check out "7 Signs It's Time to Hire an Accountant" to see if your business needs professional help.

5. Don’t Delegate the Fun Stuff

As a small-business owner, you usually have your nose to the grindstone. But Elwell says that doesn't mean you can't still have fun. She says you should keep the tasks that you do exceptionally well and that bring you joy.

"Being directly responsible for the execution or creation of something that they enjoy doing will help small-business owners counterbalance the more stressful tasks associated with creating and running their own business."

While there are tasks you want to keep, delegating responsibility helps your business grow. Get pointers on doing it well in "How to Delegate and Get More Done."

About the Contributors

Jenn Elwell

Jenn Elwell is a coach for moms who are balancing growing a business with caring for their family. She works with women who are excited about helping others yet frustrated by the administrative tasks taking up their limited worktime. She helps them automate, outsource, and put in place systems so they can do the work they love, get paid for it, and still have time for their family.

CJ McClanahan

CJ McClanahan is a sought after speaker, author, and executive coach. For more than 13 years, he has helped hundreds of overachieving professionals achieve record sales and profits. More importantly, he's taught them how to actually find more joy and satisfaction in all their hard work.

Eric Wall

Eric Wall founded Equivity in 2014 with the goal of helping busy professionals boost their productivity by partnering them with virtual assistants (VAs). Before founding Equivity, Wall worked as a patent litigator for more than a decade, most recently as a partner in the San Francisco office of Quinn Emanuel. Eric has a bachelor's degree in finance from Georgetown University and earned his JD at Harvard Law.

Rahul Yodh

Rahul Yodh is a principal with Link Legal, where he helps small-business owners in the legal industry with their growth and the challenges that come with it. Yodh has over 15 years of experience in business operations, organizational behavior, and talent acquisition. He has had the unique opportunity to view businesses from the perspective of an employee in a Fortune-1000 company, decision maker in a mid-sized privately held business, founder of multiple startups, and as a small-business owner.

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