The advice to “Delegate!” is everywhere. And yet most small, owner-managed businesses and freelance service businesses will not do this. But it’s more important than ever in times of stress and burnout.
There probably isn’t a single business owner who hasn’t felt overwhelmed at some point during the last couple of years. Uncertainty is stressful, and during periods where work hasn’t always been guaranteed, you might have been forced to cut expenses or take on work that you’d normally hand over to someone else.
Even the last few weeks have been more disrupted than any of us might have predicted and some of us (me included) will have been forced to isolate and stay home from the office.
Hopefully things have peaked, and we can start planning ahead again, but what plans should we be making? The goal for my business, and hopefully for yours too, is to put things in place that will make it easier to grow, even in challenging times.
You can’t be a master of everything, and you don’t want to be wasting your expertise on administrative work that doesn’t require your input. So this is a great time of year to take a good look at what you can cut from your to do list.
You want to focus your time on the things you’ve been trained to do, rather than wasting your mental energy on low-level tasks that leave you feeling drained.
I’m reasonably good at outsourcing and delegating, but it’s still something I want to look at in 2022, as I know there are still some tasks I work on that don’t necessarily need my attention.
That’s why one of my goals for this year is to add another Senior Engineer to my team. I’m looking for an innovative, experienced Structural Engineer with at least 10 years’ experience, so if you know anyone who fits the bill, please drop me a note.
But that’s not the purpose of this article. What I’d like to do is to inspire you to take time out from the day-to-day and think about what you can take off your plate. Running a business can be tough, and if you try to do it all that’s a recipe for burnout. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and I admire that in other business leaders too, but in the current climate I’m seeing people taking that work ethic too far. People aren’t making the time to rest and decompress.
That’s a dangerous path, and it’s easy to let it happen, but it’s not so easy to get your health back on track once you’re completely burnt out. If you’re in that position of working very long hours with no end in sight, I highly recommend looking at outsourcing or delegating.
Some key things you might want to hand over to someone else are:
Lead generation and following up with potential customers who’ve gone quiet,
Creating social media content, videos, blogs and promotional emails,
Graphic design and website design,
Accounts-related tasks, bookkeeping and invoicing,
Answering the phone and taking messages,
Anything you don’t enjoy that can be easily offloaded!
With Super Structures Associates, as well as my Personal Assistant and team of Engineers, I have Accountants I speak to regularly, I use HR Consultants to ensure I’m compliant with employment law, and I use Land Surveyors as needed. You can’t do everything yourself, so if I need to tackle something outside my area of expertise, I’ll hire a relevant specialist.
What I’ve found is that while there’s an initial cost when you first delegate tasks, the time and headspace that this frees up for you makes it more than worthwhile in the medium term. It means you’re free to take on more of the high-level tasks that will help your business grow in 2022.
Even if you start small, try looking at just one more thing you could delegate.
In the meantime, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.