Entry By Jason Brick
Are you a victim of the "entrepreneurial no-time cycle?"
- Step 1: Your business doesn't make enough money to bring on new staff.
- Step 2: You spend too much of your time on menial tasks that you never have time to grow your business.
- Step 3: Go back to Step 1.
If so, you're not alone. This routine is among the top reasons business owners spend years exhausting themselves for less money than they'd make working nine-to-five for someone else. You can break this cycle in only one way: delegating the work at a cost you can afford (and don't forget about your Org Chart!).
Using Your Existing Work Force
For most employers, the trouble isn't finding people who can do simple jobs -- it's trusting them to do it. Some even hire people to do certain tasks, but never get around to training them or empowering them to do it. Look at the people all around you, and find those you can lean on without overworking them.
Finding Great Contractors
Never hire a full-time employee when a part-timer will do, and never hire a generalist if you can get a specialist for a reasonable budget. This is where contractors come in. Websites like oDesk and eLance can put you in touch with the perfect person for a specific job, who you only have to hire for as long as that job takes.
Your Street Team
Many businesses have a network of fans -- die-hard customers who love not just your product, but the business itself. In many cases, these fans would consider it a privilege to help you out; they'd happily do something in exchange for a discount, or even a mention in your next text broadcast. These guys are especially great for social media marketing, one of the most frequent medalists in the "time-consuming stuff entrepreneurs don't want to deal with" Olympics.
Always inspect what you expect. When delegating work to any source, it's important to clearly define what you need and to hold that worker accountable for results. If you don't, you're not truly delegating -- you're deserting. Whatever the task is, even simple things you think require no explanation, set out your expectations clearly and arrange specific times to review performance, answer questions and make any changes to ensure your worker's success. This will take some time out of your schedule, but should take less time than keeping the task you assigned on your own to-do list.