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August 05, 2023

Developing a Winning Team: The Art of Delegation: A Journey from Solo Entrepreneur to Empowered Team

Empowering team through effective delegation: A business journey

August 05, 2023

Introduction

In the beginning of every business venture, it often starts with a solo entrepreneur, bootstrapping their way to growth. That's a path I've walked many times. As revenue increases, the need to invest in resources and people becomes paramount. Delegation becomes not just a strategy but a necessity. It's about working on the business, not just in it.

The Why of Delegation: From Solo to Team

Why delegate? Because we can't clone ourselves, though that would be handy. As the CEO of my agency, I've learned that my value lies in hunting for more business, focusing on sales, networking, marketing, and creating content. And yes, I still engage in web design and development, but there's so much others can do to create space in my day or help me focus on critical items or those that I'm uniquely qualified to do.

The Solo Struggle

Starting solo is a common entrepreneurial journey, but there comes a point where growth is hindered by the day-to-day tasks. I remember hiring my first VA a few years ago for my current agency because I was stuck in the daily grind, unable to scale or grow. It felt like being stuck in a sand trap with no rake.

Delegating also helps you avoid burnout. Just the other week, I took a 4-day weekend with my lovely wife. As I left that first morning, I was confident that things were handled. I had delegated a good number of items to my project manager, entrusting her to keep an eye on things.

Lastly, going solo means you are limited in terms of skills and knowledge. In the early days of my agency, all questions were answered by me, and all tasks were fulfilled the way I knew how. Today, it's a different story. I have a diverse team of incredibly talented people to bounce ideas off of, and I recognize that some may even be better (at this task) than I am at handling it.

A History of Delegation: Lessons from Past Ventures

Delegation isn't a new concept for me; it's been a vital part of my entrepreneurial journey across various businesses.

Matt's Painting & Repair: In the early 2000s, when I ran Matt's Painting & Repair (& MPR Remodeling), I didn't just wield the paintbrush myself. I hired other painters and a carpenter, allowing us to DO MORE. It was about recognizing that a team could accomplish more than an individual, even in a hands-on trade like painting and carpentry.

Online Memberships and Niche Websites: Fast forward to the mid to late 2000s, when I was building online memberships and niche websites by the hundreds. Do you think I did all that alone? No way! I found partners and hired people to help me create content and launch the sites. It was a lesson in scaling, in recognizing that delegation was key to growth.

These experiences, along with my current web design agency and team, have shaped my understanding of delegation. It's not just about handing off tasks; it's about building a team that complements your skills, trusting them to execute, and focusing on where you add the most value.

The Who of Delegation: Identifying the Right People

Illustration of delegation process in business transformation.

Who should you delegate to? It's about identifying individuals on your team who can help you focus on where you add value and where your skills excel. I have my go-to people, those I trust to take on jobs, tasks, roles, and projects.

This becomes especially crucial when I'm working on high-value projects, racing against the clock to get a proposal out the door, or knee-deep in a string of meetings. Could it wait? Perhaps. But why not hand it off to someone who can get it off my plate and into the done column?

Slack plays a pivotal role here. It's our central communication channel. If something comes in, that's the first place I think of, and I immediately consider who on my team can handle the item. Is it related to one of our client projects or websites? I hand it off to the dev team.

Need to track down something related to one of my podcast guests? A quick note in Slack to my Admin Assistant, and while I continue doing what I'm doing, she's on the case!

By identifying the right people and utilizing tools like Slack, delegation becomes a seamless part of the workflow, allowing me to focus on what truly matters.

The What of Delegation: Knowing What to Hand Over

What should you delegate? It's about recognizing where others can step in, allowing you to concentrate on areas like sales, networking, and content creation. It's not about losing control; it's about empowering your team and maximizing efficiency.

Over time, my team has evolved to fill roles that I used to handle, from in-house administrative tasks and marketing to web development and project management. It didn't happen overnight, but as I brought each individual on board, I took note of their skills and clearly defined their responsibilities.

Their department! That ‘such and such a task' no longer has to be my department! It's a liberating realization that allows me to focus on what truly matters.

Assess your own expertise, skills, and where you add the most value. Focus on those things. Delegate the rest to others. It's not just about handing off tasks; it's about strategic alignment with your business goals.

Also, ask yourself: CAN someone else just do this? There are many tasks we may even enjoy, but should we be doing them if someone else is just as capable? Again, it's about freeing you up to do what adds the most value.

By understanding what to delegate and to whom, you create a more streamlined and effective workflow, allowing your business to thrive.

The How of Delegation: Processes and SOPs

standard operating procedure

How do you delegate effectively? It's not just about handing over tasks; it's about setting up processes and creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure success.

  1. Identify the Task: Know what needs to be delegated and why.
  2. Choose the Right Person: Match the task with the right team member.
  3. Communicate Clearly: Explain the task, expectations, and deadlines.
  4. Provide Support: Offer resources, guidance, and encouragement.
  5. Create SOPs: Document the process to ensure consistency and quality.
  6. Monitor Progress: Check in without micromanaging.
  7. Celebrate Success: Acknowledge achievements and provide feedback.

Conclusion: The Power of Delegation and Processes

Delegation is a journey, a transition from working solo to building and empowering a team. It's about recognizing where you add the most value and focusing on those areas. It's about creating processes, SOPs, and documentation to set your team up for success.

Remember, delegation is not about losing control; it's about empowering your team to succeed. It's about trust, clarity, and support. It's about growing your business and achieving your goals.

Matt Levenhagen

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