An Entrepreneur’s Guide To Departmental Delegation

Are you ready to delegate, but unsure where to start? Learn how to delegate the functional areas of your small business.

Do you have a firm grasp on the basic functional areas of your small business? More importantly, what’s the main motivation of each department?

We realize how important delegation is for successful businesses. But, if you aren’t really aware (i.e. going through the motions) of daily, weekly or monthly business systems, it’s hard to think about delegating.

Where in the world would you start?


Basic Organizational Functions

Generally, every small business includes the same (give or take a few) functional areas. If you’re a startup you’re likely wearing multiple hats across these organizational areas. And if you’ve been in business for a few years, you’ve realized that the quicker you grow and delegate, the better your business will be, long-term.

1. Production
2. Sales
3. Marketing
4. Customer Service
5. Finance
6. Human Resources
7. Administration/Legal
8. Information Technology
9. Research and Development

This list should ultimately reflect what your company can financially support. And as you grow, you can expand based on strategic goals and business need. However, as a startup, you’ll likely focus immediately on functional areas 1 and 2, and so on. Learn to do the basics really well and then move on to conquer the next organizational phase.


Your Motivation Should Be Value Creation

There’s no definitive answer as to how many, or few departments your small business actually needs. The main idea is that each segment of your business should focus on value creation.

Have you ever really asked yourself, “Why are we doing this?”

It’s essential to get clarity on the main motivation behind each department.

For example, your marketing efforts shouldn’t be focused on closing sales. Your marketing plans should be designed to reach and persuade targeted prospects, and identify leads. Your sales efforts can then be directed towards nurturing leads, developing relationships and closing deals.

Clearly defined “department motivations” will help you assess whether or not you’re focusing on the right tasks and if not, allow you to course correct and delegate new responsibilities.


What You Should Let Go of Today

What should you delegate? As much as humanly possible.

Most entrepreneurs, myself included, suggest how important delegation is for startups and small businesses. But, no matter how great something is, if you’re unsure of where to start it’s frustrating and overwhelming.

So get started today and develop a nine-week plan. Spend each week focusing on a different organizational function. Pay attention to, and journal, your daily and weekly tasks as it pertains to that department. Write down even the most mundane things – dig into the details. Once you understand what you are actually doing on a daily basis, the easier it will be to delegate and possibly dump some processes and procedures.

If you wouldn’t compensate someone else to do it, why are you wasting your time with it?

Review each week’s notes and allocate specific tasks for each functional area. Prepare for growth and decide early on what you can and should outsource. Concentrate on your strengths and expertise (passion zones), and delegate the rest.

For example,

Hire an intern to handle administration — clerical paperwork. This simple business move will save you time, increase management expertise and allow you to focus on what you do best. It’s hard to grow your business and swim in leagues of paperwork too.

Or, develop a product FAQ sheet (derived from your most frequent customer service inquiries) and hand it over to a call-center that primarily deals with small businesses to take calls or close sales. Increase your productivity and sanity.

The idea is to streamline your departments as much as possible so they can work together, collaboratively, with ease. Pass your multiple hats to experts that “wear them well.”

Here are some examples of common procedures that you could delegate immediately:

  • Opening/Closing of store or office
  • Handling mail: sorting, postage, weighing
  • Maintaining equipment
  • Scheduling staff
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Customer Satisfaction

Delegation starts with assessing and organizing all of the minutia (detail) that happens throughout the course of business. Ultimately, these simple steps will save you time and money, enabling you to work smart do the things in business that matter most.


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