We are all extremely busy, whether we are working for an organisation or running our own businesses however when I worked for a company the question of whether to do a task myself or whether to ask someone else to do it felt a lot easier to decide. I was lucky to have some good mentors in my corporate career who encouraged me to delegate as much of my role as possible so that I was free to lead my team properly and as a result the people who worked for me got an opportunity to grow as they took on more interesting work and raised their visibility. When working with leaders in a coaching capacity today this is the approach I encourage them to take, working with the fear of initially letting go and trusting others to do work to the same standard. Learning to delegate well is a topic and gives fertile training ground for ensuring explicitness in the final deliverables.
The challenge of delegating to others or outsourcing tasks when you are self-employed or running a small business is often cost. To be specific it’s the return on the investment of outsourcing work and the opportunity cost of your own time spent doing other things that you either find easier, are more able to do or earn you more money per hour.
The fun matrix at the top of this blog illustrates a thought process than can be used to decide on whether to outsource or not and whether to stop an activity or not. Sometimes a key question is firstly does it need to be done at all? Is it something that isn’t adding any value and therefore you can stop doing without any impact on customer satisfaction or profitability. It can often be tough to let go of something if you are emotionally attached to the topic or process however it might be that it isn’t working, it’s not cost effective or may no longer be required. The second difficulty is if it costs you a lot to outsource to an expert and you are running a business which is the early stages and where money is tight you might find it difficult to justify this additional cost. From my personal experience in the early years I did make some expensive errors of judgement in this area and if I look back the mistakes I made where when the activity didn’t pass the value-added test e.g. Did the activity need to be done? Some of the activities I outsourced in the earlier days weren’t critical to the success of the business and I also made some wrong choices when I choose suppliers and didn’t shop around enough to find the right person or company whose values and professionalism aligned to the company we were setting up. I now test any supplier with a small project of work first to ensure I am happy with the quality and the working relationship before outsourcing more work on an ongoing basis. The emotional relief and quality of output when you do find the right partners and can negotiate a win win result in the price paid however is well worth the risk and allows you to work on the stuff you are good at.
More details on this model and other information can be found in Sandra’s book Own It regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl