A useful anchor point for your thinking: your business is just one component of a very full life.
Therefore, it needs to be positioned as part of your broader life picture.
This framework will help you identify how the art of delegation can work for you, and for your business.
Take a breath.
1. The very first thing you need to do is take a step back. Or maybe 10 steps back. Seriously. This is very important. You need to stop and re-group, because the constant activity and level of stress is unsustainable and you are going to burn out.
2. What are your personal business drivers? Why did you start your business in the first place? Was it to pay the mortgage or bills, fund a private education, make a little bit of money on the side, for stimulation, flexibility, or to set yourself up to retire by 45? By understanding this, you will be able to develop a realistic and sustainable strategy.
Position your business.
3. What is your business vision and plan? Do you have a strategy and direction for your business? Do you want to continue as a sole-trader, or would you like to grow the business? Can you see where you would like to be in 5 years’ time? You really need to work this out, so that you have a solid baseline for decision making and are not just meandering along, overwhelmed by busyness and activity.
Understand your life.
4. Work out all the activities you perform in your life. Write down on post-it notes all your activities: core business (the income generating activities) and non-core (the activities that keep your business ticking along), family and household related, and things that are for you (and make sure you add in the things you would like to be doing for yourself, but just don’t have the time).
5. Identify where your time is best spent. Now you have worked out all the things that you do, every day, every week … scary isn’t it? Put a star next to the things that the success of are critical to you doing them. And then prioritise all of the others from 1 – 5, with 1 being preferable that you do them, and 5 being completely irrelevant as to whether it is you or someone else that does them. By using the post-it notes, you will get a great visual of your life and start to really understand where your time is best spent.
For example, going to the gym and developing your business strategy gets a star, managing social media for your business gets a 1, doing the business books gets a 3, cleaning the toilet might be a 5.
The art of delegation.
6. Develop a strategy. Now, review your post-it note list and identify what is unnecessary and can be deleted from your life (and scrunch it up and chuck it in the bin!). Next, work out where you can easily outsource or delegate activities for free – to your partner, other family members, or friends. Then, work out the things that have a cost attached to them but are easy to delegate – like getting a cleaner or a babysitter, or having your groceries home delivered. And lastly, identify the activities that can be delegated, but have a cost and will need some time, processes or input from you to getting underway – engaging a book-keeper or a VA (virtual assistant), paid childcare, or employing a sales person for example.
7. Implement your strategy. Whilst this process has been quite in-depth, you should now have a really clear picture of where your business sits in your life, where you would like to take it and the activities that need to be performed to ensure that this happens.
There are lots of ways you can make changes – swapping services with another business mum via a Motivating Mum forum, focusing on sales rather than business administration, investing some money in the business, or getting a mentor to help you with your strategy.
Finally, it is very important to recognise that at some point – if you are serious about your business – monetary investment will need to occur somewhere in your life, to enable you to achieve your business goals, meet your family and other obligations, and not burn out in the process.
Guest post by Fiona Redding, mum of two and owner of Vivacity Consulting – specialists in setting businesses up for sustainable success andgrowth: with collaboration, information, motivation and inspiration.