The Art of Effective Delegation
When I started Strawberrysoup with Keith, everything was reasonably simple. He focused on generating sales for the business, whilst I was in charge of designing websites and putting them together.
These roles worked very well for about a year – we gained a good range of clients and both of us knew our roles within the business and we could both handle the workload without a worry.
Now we are nearly 4 years on from the birth of Strawberrysoup, we have grown quite a bit. We started with 2 of us, now there are 7. We were working in a garden shed in Chichester, now we have 2 offices in Chichester and Bournemouth not to mention the fact that our service offerings have almost tripled!
As we have evolved as a business, we have had to try and evolve to become managers and business owners – and the task is harder than it might sound.
When you own your own business, you become very possessive and want everything to be done to the highest quality. You know that if you do a job, you will do it right (most of the time) but when you have a team of people doing your work – how do you know they are doing a good job?
I would give you the following advice:
- Always hire the best staff available – you may have to pay higher salaries, but the benefits of having staff you can trust, believe in and admire far outweighs paying them slightly less.
- Don’t micro-manage – when we first hired, I always wanted to check what they were doing, reviewing their work, testing their knowledge and ultimately getting on their nerves. I think that it is important to give them space to work for themselves and if they get stuck, they will ask for help and advice.
- Have regular review meetings – we sit down as a team once a week to discuss all of our current projects, problems we are having or concerns that we have – this is very important as it lets Keith and myself to gauge how the business is performing, but also lets our team know that we are listening and understand their pressures/concerns.
- Don’t be afraid to give someone responsibility for important aspects of your business like the accounts or customer management. I look after our daily accounts, but get our accountants to manage the payroll and end of year accounts. We have also give our team account management responsibility for certain clients. This was a big risk at the start, due to the fact that if an account wasn’t handled effectively, this would directly influence the business and our bottom line. The risk paid off and we have had nothing but positive feedback (including a couple of thank-you cards and even a cake – well done Pree!)
In summary, I think that we have been very lucky with the team that we have chosen to work with. Delegation and growth is a daunting prospect whilst at the same time being exciting as it can leave you with more time to do important things – like trying to evolve and grow the business.