Delegate, if you want your business to grow

 In For Photographers

If you want to move one step up in your business, you need to delegate as much as possible. To delegate, you need to get comfortable in not having everything under control, in having things done in another way. And you have to be ok with that. As small business owner, to delegate may mean to give away some of the things you feel they are integral part of you; however, if you want your business to grow and flourish, you need to delegate.
Of course, if you feel that where you are today is where you want to be, if you feel that your income is at the level you want and your free time is the perfect one, then the idea of delegate is not for you.
If the idea of delegating part of what take away time has sparkled your interest, and you want to know how you can do it, the feel free to read on (and comment or share, things that are always welcome)

What delegate really means

Delegate means giving a task to someone else to complete it. It is as easy as it gets. Small business owners, photographers included, generally build their business entirely on their shoulders. We feel that having everything under control will give us the possibility to steer our business in the right direction. We need to overcome the fear of letting go of this control in order to delegate!

Why to delegate?

Let’s be honest: we are not experts in all the areas a business need to succeed. Pre Production, Shooting, Post Production, Marketing, Sales, PR and many other things are all integral part of your business. If we feel that we have to be personally in charge of everything, we will keep our business in a small hole, which boundaries are going to be defined by our knowledge and expertise. Delegate part of the business means allowing someone with more knowledge and experience than you to expand those limits and boundaries. Do you want to know why you should delegate part of your business? Because to delegate means you will give it the possibility to become a better business.
There is also another main reason to delegate: to have more time. Do you live to work or work to live? I would happily do with more time for my family and myself.

Who to Delegate to?

The simplest reply is: hire someone to do something for you. It is going to cost you money, but employing someone to look after an area of your business will give you the possibility to invest the remaining of your time on something more important. If I had ten more hours every month, I would probably invest them in getting more customers.
Of course, paying someone is sometimes difficult, especially if you are just starting. There are alternatives to paying though, even if you will discover that the amount of available resources are scarce when money are not involved. You can take on board an assistant, who need to learn how to grow a business, or someone who lacks skills in an area where you excel; in this way you can help him or her to grow, while he or she can help you growing your business in an are which is not your forte.
There are also additional alternatives, think about internship and apprenticeship. A student who needs a work placement may be a great addition, or if you sign up for an apprentice, costs can be minimal.

The right way to delegate

In my long experience as IT manager and business owner, I have learned to focus on deliverables. To make the most if you delegate part of your business, is to make sure to let the person you delegate to what you expect. From our post processing experts I expect a qualitative work in a certain amount of time. From a marketing person, I expect a certain number of leads in a allotted time, and so on. The smaller the tasks, the easier it will be to make sure that your boat is going it the right direction, and that everyone you delegate to is on track.
What I have learned not to do, which is as important as the previous approach, is to micromanage. I have expectations, and I evaluate someone else’s work by his or her results; however, despite being interested in a good meal, I am not interested in deciding how it should be cooked, or how tomatoes should be chopped. In the same way, I am not interested in knowing what technique our retouchers use, I just want retouchers whose results have the quality we need in the time we need.

To delegate means being a business owner, not a business

The main difference between someone who delegates and someone who does not, is that the first is a business owner, the second is a one-man band. If you want your business to flourish, you need to decide your role. If you want to lead, then take the elm of your ship and steer it in the right direction. If you want to photograph, make sure someone else is in charge of the business management. In any case, delegating tasks and areas of your business will allow you to be the photographer you want to be, having a business that thrives.

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