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Expert Advice for High-Growth Businesses

The Importance of Delegating as Your Business Grows

It’s not unusual for small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners to try to do it all themselves, but delegation is absolutely necessary to grow a business. Even if it’s difficult to offload tasks, owners must turn their focus from running the business to leading and growing it.

To learn how owners can delegate in order to focus on growing their business, we asked a few industry experts to share their knowledge with us during our Oracle SMB Twitter Tweetchat, The Importance of Delegating as Your Business Grows. Here’s what they had to say.

Why do successful entrepreneurs have a hard time delegating to key employees? How can they get into a delegation mindset?

  • Entrepreneurs are hardwired to just get it done—essential trait when starting your biz—but delegation is key for scale. Hire a great team, empower them, and trust them so you can focus on driving strategy, vision and culture.
    – Reggie Bradford (@ReggieBradford), Senior Vice President, Oracle Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator
  • SMBs have an “I can do that” mentality. There is nothing too big or small, which is an ambitious mindset but not realistic. Mindset is about acknowledging “you are not great at everything.”
    – Gwendolyn Turner (@GwenFTurner), President, Princeton Proper
  • Delegation is hard since owning a business is SO personal. It’s like delegating responsibility for your kid. But you can learn to delegate—do it in small steps if necessary.
    – Rieva Lesonsky (@Rieva), Best-Selling Author of Start Your Own Business

What are some delegation “do’s”? Are there certain steps or guidelines executives should follow when delegating tasks?

  • Do delegate your weaknesses. Assemble a team that complements your weaknesses, so you can focus on your strengths. For example, some are great at creating presentations, some are great at delivering—a rare skill is doing both great. Do be involved in hiring key employees. If you don’t have smart people you trust, you can’t delegate effectively. Do always drive strategic vision, values and culture. Don’t delegate those. The founder has to lead here.
    – Reggie Bradford (@ReggieBradford), Senior Vice President, Oracle Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator
  • Do find great talent. Identify talent through referrals. If you can’t afford to hire, consider doing a talent share with other small businesses. Talent is key! Do let go. It’s hard but you can’t cook, greet guests, wash dishes and park cars. Play your position.
    – Gwendolyn Turner (@GwenFTurner), President, Princeton Proper
  • If you start by delegating the tasks you hate, that’ll make it easier to give it up. Delegate the “easy” stuff.
    – Rieva Lesonsky (@Rieva), Best-Selling Author of Start Your Own Business

How can SMB leaders ensure they are delegating the right tasks to the right people?

  • Building a team is crucial. Find people you’d get in a foxhole with and delegate and empower them. Founders must be involved in hiring key employees. Take time to research and recruit. Your team is everything.
    – Reggie Bradford (@ReggieBradford), Senior Vice President, Oracle Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator
  • Understanding your current talent is super important. You must allow your employees the space to learn and grow. Completing popular HR assessments help with understanding skills and personalities.
    – Gwendolyn Turner (@GwenFTurner), President, Princeton Proper
  • It starts with hiring smart. Hire people who are strong where you’re weak so they can fill in the gaps.
    – Rieva Lesonsky (@Rieva), Best-Selling Author of Start Your Own Business
  • By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of employees, SMB leaders can delegate accordingly and ensure a happy outcome for both.
    – Maria Florio (@Luna12780), Entrepreneur and Marketing Consultant

What are some delegation “don’ts”? For example, are there certain tasks that execs should avoid delegating?

  • Don’t delegate strategic values, vision and culture. A founder has to lead authentically to inspire passion. Don’t delegate a crisis situation. The founder should be front and center. Don’t delegate tough decisions, own it!
    – Reggie Bradford (@ReggieBradford), Senior Vice President, Oracle Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator
  • Don’t micromanage. No one wants to work for someone who does not trust them. Trust and ask for updates. Don’t play the blame game. If something does not go well, it’s a learning opportunity. Keep going. Don’t overlook wins. Congratulate when things are great and give constructive feedback when things are not so great.
    – Gwendolyn Turner (@GwenFTurner), President, Princeton Proper

How can delegation impact your workforce? Do you believe it has the ability to improve employee engagement?

  • Delegation absolutely improves employee engagement because it empowers, exhibits trust and encourages ownership. When all feel part of the team—contributing to the greater good regardless of their positions—that’s winning. Businesses tend to lose that team mentality with growth. They get more hierarchical, less flat. That’s a mistake.
    – Reggie Bradford (@ReggieBradford), Senior Vice President, Oracle Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator
  • When employees are connected to their work and other important deliverables, they are invested in the business. Purpose!
    – Gwendolyn Turner (@GwenFTurner), President, Princeton Prope
  • If you delegate, your employees will feel trusted and valued. People who feel that way work harder.
    – Rieva Lesonsky (@Rieva), Best-Selling Author of Start Your Own Business
  • It’s imperative for companies to recognize the importance of an engaged workforce as the world around us changes daily. As @AngelaMaiers often says “People want to know they matter!” By delegating tasks to employees, you empower them.
    – Brian Moran (@BrianMoran), Award-Winning Business Advisor

What role does delegation play in employee development and succession planning?

  • Delegation plays a key role in employee retention. Empowered people are more engaged. And better employees. Engagement always ranks top in employee satisfaction surveys, but employee engagement requires a delegation culture.
    – Reggie Bradford (@ReggieBradford), Senior Vice President, Oracle Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator
  • Delegating prepares your employees for new roles, it will also keep your employees from jumping ship for something new. Delegating helps sustain your business for generations to come. It prepares your company for the legacy.
    – Gwendolyn Turner (@GwenFTurner), President, Princeton Proper

Do you have any other tips for delegating?

  • Our hardwired DIY attitudes must coexist with a delegation mindset for SMBs to grow and scale. Delegating won’t come naturally for entrepreneurs so practice, trust, be confident and empower.
    – Reggie Bradford (@ReggieBradford), Senior Vice President, Oracle Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator
  • Firmly decide. Create what your role will be and the role of others. Understanding your position will create success. Everyone is a business owner in your company and everyone must take risks and take ownership.
    – Gwendolyn Turner (@GwenFTurner), President, Princeton Proper

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