Struggling To Delegate? The 7 Essential Ingredients

Posted on Feb 10, 2020
By Kerry Anne Nelson
4 min read
small business scaling systems and processes
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It was reported in a 2019 study that 83 per cent of business owners have experienced real stress in the past six months, with almost half (49 per cent), saying they have been more stressed than normal, and 17 per cent admitting they are ‘highly stressed’.

One survey from the New York Enterprise Report found that small business owners work twice as much as regular employees. It also found that 33% of small business owners reported working more than 50 hours per week, and 25% said they work more than 60 hours a week

small business scaling systems and processes

“ One of the most challenging changes confronting every entrepreneur is the shift from operator to leader” 

These reports show business owners struggle to delegate. With hard work, you may have been able to grow your business successfully up to this point, but it can be difficult to clear the work off your desk, especially when your business is growing rapidly. As your business continues to scale up though, it is important to delegate the bulk of the workload so you can continue to grow. Unless you master this very important skill, it really will be impossible to break through into the sort of success that you imagined right from the outset of your business.

Today I want to share the seven essential ingredients that you need to get this whole delegation recipe right.


Letting go can be difficult for the business owner who built their business from scratch, especially when everything up to this point has been reliant on their efforts and their expertise. Still, letting go is the essential first step to successfully growing. Working more than 50hrs each week is just not going to work in the long run. It will lead to fatigue, so you need to pull back and think of the long game.


If letting go is the first step, then the second is finding the right people. If you’re handing work over to people that are not competent or adequately skilled, and are not a cultural fit in your company, the whole process will not be successful. Take the time to decide the sort of person you want and the sort of skillset that you need, and then make sure you get that recruitment process right.


Once that target has been set,  you need to make a dedication to the journey because the reality is that it’s not going to fall into place straight away. There are going to be lessons to learn, and your new team grows, they will need to learn from you. They will need time to understand your company and your philosophy, especially the way that you serve your customers and clients. There will be bumps along the way, so dedication to the journey is vital to push through.


The next thing you need is an investment into saving time. This is important because at first, the delegation journey is going to feel like it costs you time. It’s going to feel very time consuming to set things up and train people in your methods. And yet, as you can see it is for the long haul because by investing some of that time now, you save a lot more of that precious time later.


The next thing that you need is a healthy self-concept because as you start to delegate your workload, you’re going to be progressively made redundant. Now, though this may seem intimidating, you need to crave this redundancy so you can continue to push forward into putting yourself out of work because that is the name of the game with business growth. Eventually, the business runs itself, and that comes by delegating successfully.


The next thing that you need is personal accountability. You need to make yourself accountable to the process of delegation, or else you will find that you’re jumping back in to fix mistakes that your team have made, or just simply doing it yourself because it feels easier. Make yourself accountable for refusing to accept a task back once you’ve delegated it.


And finally, for delegation to be successful, you need to have systems and processes recorded. Whether this looks like documented task instructions, checklists and templates, or video instructions that are saved in an instruction library. Tools like these are essential for delegation and without them, you’ll find that all of the other steps simply won’t be able to stick, and you don’t want to have to personally repeat your instructions.

Delegation can be scary, your business represents you, and it is how you make your mark on the world. Because of this, you may want to personally supervise everything and anything within your business, to make sure it is right. But with a bit of investment in time, people, processes and trust, you will make it to the end to reduce the workload on your desk.

Kerry Anne Nelson

About Kerry Anne Nelson

Kerry Anne Nelson is the founder of Operation Verve and is a qualified first-class Honours graduate with more than 8 years of experience in education.

Kerry Anne Nelson is a workplace processes architect and uses her Lean Six Sigma training to maximise her years of experience in business management, education, and team leadership to help clients achieve lasting business growth.