The Real Reason Business Owners Don’t Delegate

Posted on Sep 23, 2019
By Kerry Anne Nelson
8 min read
Business management processes
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Successful delegation in business is the elusive secret sauce of your lasting business success. If you were asked to reflect truthfully on your business leadership over this past week, how many times would you have to admit that you said something like this to yourself:

“I want to delegate this work to someone else, but I do it better and faster than anyone else, so it’s easier if I just do it myself. “

Business management processes

In today’s quick read I will reveal a truth I consistently find. This is the one simple reason business owners don’t delegate.

Studies show successful delegation in business is a central ingredient of success. If you can employ even one or two people in the first few years of growth you’ll do well. Hiring will help share the load. This will make you far more likely to succeed and survive than those who try and go it alone.

However, developing the skill of delegation might be challenging for you as an owner. This is because it’s very, very difficult to let go. Like many others, your ability to do such a wide range of tasks is a point of pride. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you likely enjoy the challenge and variety. There’s also the more pressing concern that your growing business needs the work to be done well. Your customers expect it and your business reputation depends on it.

The Truth Of The Matter

But at the end of the day, you know and I know the truth. Keeping your thumb in every pie doesn’t serve you, your business or your team. You need to find ways to have more time, more productivity, and more profits. You want to enjoy the relief, the clarity and the freedom of things getting done without you. And you have to know the weight of the world doesn’t need to rest permanently on your shoulders.

Being able to delegate effectively will give you all these benefits! Despite your pride in a job well done, this is the best way. Even though you love variety, and you have to keep up high standards, your business will only be able to level up if you master the art of delegation.

I have found there’s one simple reason why you don’t move forward with this. But there are three stories I hear consistently that cover up this one truth. Have you heard these before?:

I Don’t Know How

Do you find yourself saying you don’t delegate well because you can’t get others working as well as you? This is certainly understandable … Most business owners are experts in their field. 70% of business owners started up to turn their unique expertise into a profitable enterprise for themselves and their loved ones. You know you’re the best at delivering your products and services. Passing on your exceptional abilities to someone else can be very difficult.

But I hope you see the value in delegating all of your “non-expert” jobs that you need to cover to keep things running. Dedicate yourself to raising new trainees to do what you don’t need to do personally. This will free up your time and profitability immeasurably. (And dare I say it, there is always a way to find another highly skilled and capable person to do a perfectly acceptable version of what you do … but that’s a topic for another day … ).

I Don’t Have the Time

Perhaps you have thought that you can’t delegate because it takes too long?  Getting someone else to do the work for you takes too much time. It ends in mistakes, and it has you chasing jobs around like a lunatic! It can be tedious, and time-consuming for you. Honestly, it’s downright frustrating to train someone when you barely have enough time to do the work yourself.

But what if you were confident your efforts to delegate more work would be effective enough to genuinely inject more time back into your week? I suspect you would take the time to set it up. This is the wise investment that you can make to grow your business sustainably.  When you say “I don’t have the time” it’s a cover-up. This masks the real reason those jobs never leave your hands.

I Can’t Afford It

Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough money to delegate properly in your business. Does your way of thinking say you can’t pay another person to work for you when you can barely pay yourself? Any spare funds you can scrape together go right back into building the business. How could you take someone on at this point?

This reason seems very much like the “I don’t have time” one to me. If you could exchange $50 to get $100 back, you would be crazy not to, right? If you could pay another person to do five or ten hours of low-level work you could reclaim that time to do more of the work that boosts your profits. This would make delegation a solution to your money problem. If this is true, then you can’t afford NOT to delegate.

I Don’t Know Where To Start

The final reason you might be avoiding delegation is that you’re not quite sure where to start. This makes perfect sense. Without delegating effectively, there’s no time or headspace for you to figure out the best jobs to get help with. If you’re snowed under with more work than you can do in a day, you would feel this way. Spending just 5 or 10 minutes to plan the best tasks to hand over seems like a luxury in time you simply can’t afford.

But when you think about it, this again is another kind of false logic …  If spending 5 minutes could get you back 50, isn’t that the best thing you could do with your limited time? In my experience, what Benjamin Franklin said is true: “For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned.”

Successful Delegation In Business

Business owners say all of these things to explain why they don’t delegate. This reflects a horrible conflict because studies show that most business owners believe that delegation is a vital tool for growth. How can you resolve this tension? If you don’t know how to pass work on to someone to help, this doesn’t mean it’s not possible. When you look at your planning and it seems don’t have time or money to delegate, that doesn’t prove you can’t work it out. When you don’t know where to start, that doesn’t mean there is no starting point for you. You don’t have to be one of the unlucky ones who will never experience the benefits of delegating.

Not! Because none of these reasons explains why you’re struggling to delegate. Well, what is the real reason, you ask? It’s because you …

Don’t Have The Tools

If you don’t have the resources you need to hand work over to another team member, you will always be tied to doing that work yourself. Most business owners know from experience that their staff don’t work as well as they do. It’s true … people can’t “just know” anything. If your staff haven’t been shown, supervised, trained, and supported with quality resources, they can’t possibly do a good job of lightening the load for you.

But like your staff, you can’t “just know” how to make this happen either. If you knew how to get your team to pick up more of the slack, wouldn’t you have done it already? Time and time again I see business owners who want to enjoy the benefits of delegation, but they say they don’t know how, they don’t have the time or money, or they don’t even know where to start.

Developing Business Delegation Tools

The answer lies in developing the tools you need to delegate. If you have checklists, instructions, videos and support resources to hand over the bulk of the work to another helper, you would suddenly know how to delegate. This is because you would have what you needed to start! I suspect you’d find the time pretty quickly and I even think you’d be able to scrape a budget together to make it happen.

Having a suite of in-house tools and resources to get your team running on autopilot gives you clarity and focus. It puts more time back in your day which allows you to use your professional expertise to fatten up your bottom line.

It gets you and your team moving inflow. Even more than that, it raises the value of your business asset exponentially. Mastering the art of delegation is the secret sauce of limitless growth in your business. When you can replicate you can duplicate. When you can duplicate you can multiply. Multiply your staff, to multiply your output, to multiply your sales, to multiply your customers, to ultimately multiply your wealth.

How much would this be worth to you?

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.