5 Signs It’s Time to Delegate

Low on time or energy? Learn when a small business owner should delegate certain tasks to employees.

Running a small business means wearing many hats, but success requires knowing when you should take at least one of them off. Otherwise, you’re at high risk of burning out — and your business could suffer as a result.

Delegating not only helps you stay fresh, but it can also make your business more productive, innovative and successful. Look out for these five signs that you should delegate certain tasks:

1. You Don’t Have Enough Time for Your Most Important Work

If it feels as though your to-do list never ends, you’re not alone. Some 81 percent of owners work nights and 89 percent work weekends, according to small business loan provider Fundera.

If much of your time is eaten up by administrative tasks, delegating could help you shift focus to high-priority, strategic efforts. To get a better picture of how you spend your work day, use a free online time-tracking tool like Toggl or Timely. Once you see how many hours of your day go to administrative tasks, the value of delegating will be clear.

2. You Lack the Expertise to Do Tasks Well

Few small business owners are skilled at every function required to run their company. Handling accounting, marketing, sales, HR and IT equally well isn’t something that comes naturally to most. Struggling to do a job you’re not good at wastes your time. Worse, it can also do irreparable harm to your business. Stop trying to learn how to do everything and start offloading what’s not in your wheelhouse to the experts you hired in the various functional areas.

3. Your Employees Are Ready to Learn

If you never delegate, you’re not giving your employees a chance to grow and expand their skillsets. Workers who don’t have a chance to gain experience or learn new skills will quickly become bored and dissatisfied with doing the same old thing every day. Give valued staff a chance to take on tasks that enhance their knowledge, skills and experience. Being presented with challenges and opportunities to grow boosts employee satisfaction — and that’s good for you and your company, too.

4. You’ve Lost Your Passion for Your Business

Perhaps you started a restaurant because you love planning menus, creating new dishes and talking to customers. Now, however, you seem to spend all your time in the back office dealing with spreadsheets and scheduling.

If you’ve lost the spark that got you excited about entrepreneurship in the first place, try parceling out the tasks that take you away from the work you love. You probably can’t jettison all of your management responsibilities, but chances are you can find more time to reconnect with your passion and come up with new, creative ideas.

5. It Costs You More to DIY Than It Would to Delegate

How much is your time worth? Every hour you spend scheduling meetings, entering data or handling other low-value administrative tasks is an hour you’re not maximizing your income. You might think doing tasks yourself is the best way to ensure they are completed. But from a financial standpoint, it’s probably costing you. Your time as the business owner is best spent exploring opportunities to take the business in new, profitable directions.

Delegating may not come naturally — when you’re running a small business, it’s often hard to give up control. It may help to think of delegating as a necessary step in achieving and maintaining success. It allows you to focus on what you’re best at, and it gives employees room to grow.