As a small business owner, you’re already responsible for overseeing every aspect of your business. You have a list of tasks that seems never ending. What you should be focusing on isn’t always what you actually focus on.
Let me ask you this. How often have you taken on too many projects at a time and, even though you were working on each one at the same time, none of them seemed to be moving forward? I know I have done this many times! This lack of focus on too many things at once or even focusing on the wrong things keeps you from moving ahead.
For instance, it’s well-known Apple’s founder Steve Jobs was a very focused man. He would set his focus for each day, ignoring and filtering out everything else. This intense focus on creating the product line, without distractions, led to his success.
In your role as a small business owner, it’s extremely easy to lose focus, letting your attention go from one good business idea, process, or project to the next.
We try to do everything at once in the business, especially when we are in the early growth period. We are the coach, accountant, writer, designer, customer service rep, product creator, sales person, and manager.
Even with the best time management system in place, you are probably still doing tasks that aren’t really growing your business.
Focus doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. Instead, outsourcing work and using systems allows you to delegate tasks easily accomplished by others, while you focus on the high value tasks that keep your business growing.
In this post, you’ll determine what tasks you should be focusing on for growth and wealth. I will help you identify those tasks that you can and should outsource or delegate to others.
Before Outsourcing, Determine Your Tasks
You are a business owner. You have a million and one things you need to do each day in your business. Some days it feels like you are getting nowhere, while you spend your time doing every task from tweaking your website to answering emails to posting on social media. You know you should be focusing on those tasks that will grow your business, but how do you determine which ones they are?
First, determine your focus for each day.
You perform two types of tasks daily. One type makes you money. The other type includes everything else. Your focus should be on the tasks that only you can do. These are your money-making, decision-making tasks.
You need to prioritise your outcomes over your to-do lists. What outcome do you want to achieve? Is it developing a new relationship with your ideal prospect? Getting repeat high-end sales? You must focus on which ones make you money and grow your business.
Begin by brainstorming every task you do. List every single task, no matter how small or big it is, onto paper. This lets you clear your mind, so you can prioritise the right ones you should be focusing on.
You can do this in Google docs, or in note app on your phone, but I find that putting pen to paper for this first step helps me get everything out of my head, even if it looks a bit messy by the end!
Next, identify critical tasks.
There are a few marketing tasks that are necessary for your business success. There are others that are supporting tasks, while the third group is the “it’s nice to do these when you have time” type of task. You want to handle or closely oversee the deadline-driven, money-making tasks, or tasks that build your business in some way like relationship building.
Finally determine which tasks can be delegated.
There are a lot of tasks that others can easily do for you. Research, scheduling social media, and admin tasks can all be outsourced to someone else. This frees up your time allowing you to focus on the top critical high value tasks that build wealth and growth.
Get crystal clear on which tasks make money or build momentum. Focus on the tasks that create new customers to talk to, new meetings of potential partnerships, and bring in money. Focus on the momentum generating work, growth, and making money.
Types of tasks you should focus on could include:
- Content marketing that will increase traffic
- Planning your sales funnels
- Relationship building
- Closing sales
- Working with current clients
- Writing a book to build your authority
- Engaging with current and potential clients
- Seeking out PR and Publicity opportunities and sending out pitches
- Collaborating with market leaders in your niche
- Interviewing someone in your market
- Getting interviewed or published on popular blogs or podcasts
The best way to determine if you should focus on a specific task is to ask yourself if it’s something only you can do and if it is a high profit task, meaning those tasks that will make you money directly or indirectly.
It’s important to focus on repeat customers as well as obtaining new ones. It’s easier to sell to someone who’s already bought your product/program. They know you. They like you. They trust you.
Delegate and Outsource Tasks
It can be overwhelming with everything that you need to do in order to grow and build a profitable business. The skill comes from learning how to delegate and knowing what to outsource.
Successful business owners have learned how to focus and do those tasks that are important to their business’ growth. They outsource absolutely everything else, such as paperwork, order fulfillment, and customer service.
You already know the benefits of delegating. That is, to build teams who share your workload, so you can work on the highest profile work that only you can do.
But like many, you hoard the work out of fear that the work won’t get done up to your standards, it’ll take longer to find the right person to do it than to actually do it yourself, it’s tedious work no one wants to do, or it will cost too much, or a host of any other excuses.
And that’s what they are – excuses. Delegation and outsourcing can in fact, help your business grow faster. The budget might take a hit at first, but the rewards pay off in the work getting done while you focus on the important tasks.
Even if you are in the beginning stages of your business, outsourcing is a good idea.
It will save you time to work on the high profit tasks right from the beginning. The cost is less to outsource than it is to hire employees, you can outsource a few tasks at a time, and you can build growth by outsourcing a sales and marketing team that enables fast growth just by their experience.
What to Outsource or Delegate
To determine what tasks to outsource or delegate, perform an audit of your work. Organise tasks into groups by: type, importance, urgency, and complexity.
Ask yourself these questions about each task: How long does it take me to do the task from start to finish? Can it be done quicker, easier by someone else? Is it a task that only I can do or one that brings in revenue quickly and directly?
For example, my sister helps me on my health blog. She will upload recipes, proofread blog posts, update the SEO metadata, and create pins. This allows me more time to focus on actually creating content.
When & Why to Delegate
Here are some times when you should seriously consider handing the task off to someone else
- If it’s repetitive or recurring, delegate it.
- If the task involves templates, delegate it.
- If it’s outside your expertise or skill set, outsource it.
- If the task is something you don’t enjoy doing, outsource it.
- If it doesn’t directly bring in money, outsource it.
Tiny tasks might seem easy for you to tackle but they can add up. These tasks aren’t urgent but need to be done, like registering for an event, or booking your flight and hotel.
Tedious tasks are simple but take up time. They don’t enhance your growth. These can be things like ordering supplies, data entry, and admin work.
Time consuming tasks can be important and complex but require time to do. For example, researching.
Tasks that are teachable and you aren’t especially good at can be delegated, for example setting up opt-in pages on your website.
And then there are specific, specialised skills like accounting, designing, coding, that can be outsourced.
Concerns About Outsourcing Business Tasks
You might have a few concerns of how it will affect your business.
- You might feel a loss of complete control. Giving up absolute control of any area of your business is scary. Remember, you have the final say.
- You fear you’ll hire the wrong person or business. When outsourcing it’s beneficial to get references and testimonials. It’s also a good idea to outsource to those who have worked in your industry before.
- You have concerns of the privacy of your business. Whoever you outsource to will have access to your business in some way. Have the outsourced business sign a non-disclosure agreement or any other type of contract that protects your business.
- Not having the tasks done quickly or on time. Outline your expectations and the deadline when you would like the work done. If the service provider is organised and schedules properly they should be able to do the work on time.
When it comes to knowing what to delegate and outsource, it comes down to determining what your priorities are. You can find specialised service providers to tackle almost every aspect of business. The trick is to find ones that fit with your values and goals.
How To Start Outsourcing
Knowing what tasks to focus on in your business is key to whether you are overwhelmed, overworked and stagnant or growing and expanding. In order to move forward and get out of the overwhelm you need to determine what high value tasks you should be focusing on.
It begins with planning and prioritisation. Begin by making a list of everything you do in your business, from the most menial task to the tedious to the challenging and finally those that are money tasks. Don’t worry if this takes you a couple of weeks to complete. Separate them into groups. Then assess the value. Which have more benefits than others? For example, meeting with current clients about a new program is more important than tweaking your website.
Next you want to begin outsourcing the small tasks, tasks you don’t like to do or aren’t good at, those that require specific skills like graphic design and anything that is taking time away from your high profit tasks. Which tasks are left that only you can do? These are your critical, high-profit tasks you should be focusing on.
You can outsource almost every task that is tedious, time consuming, tiny or requires specific skills. All your administrative tasks like customer service, email management, filing, and booking flights can be taken care of by a virtual assistant. If you need images and sales page graphics created, a graphic designer can take care of those
You can outsource most tasks that don’t directly make you money or contribute to growth momentum. One task you shouldn’t outsource is relationship building with your potential and current customers. Another one is building your authority which can come from being interviewed, writing a book, or being seen consistently.
Even if you’re not sure who you are going to delegate to or outsource with, begin by determining what you can and should be delegating. Outsourcing and delegating tasks frees up your time, is a good return on investment, and helps you grow quicker.