Brendan Cluff – Director of Buy Time, talks about how long it took him to realise that delegation and learning to let go is imperative if you are committed to business growth. Successful entrepreneurs need to delegate work that they are not good at or things that don’t really add value.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It must have taken me more than four years of being an entrepreneur to realise how much more profitable my business could be with even a small amount of delegation. But when you’re building a business yourself removing yourself from doing the every day admin and those things that aren’t your particular strength is not easy. If you don’t have employees or colleagues to delegate work to it means building a network of support and strategic partners. And to any entrepreneur used to working like me, attempting this both felt fraught with danger and never-ending. Everyone doing business has, at one time or another, been let down by someone they had (mistakenly) placed their trust in, hoping they would fulfil their promises.
Why We Need Delegation in Business?
It is partly for reasons of trust (or lack thereof!) that for years I, like so many entrepreneurs I know, would do everything myself. I was my very own superhero. I could do it all! I didn’t need anyone else. I could make enough money to get by on (and maybe a little more) and still have time to spare. Best of all, I was an entrepreneur, so I worked whenever I wanted.
But not surprisingly, as my business grew, my spare time waned. I got caught up doing all manner of tasks that were essentially wasting my time. And worst of all for an entrepreneur, I could no longer work only when I wanted. I had traded a job for a different kind of serfdom and was a slave to my business. This was borne out of an inability to trust others.
I progressively took on more and more work and became swamped. One sunny London Saturday in April I found myself in the office while my friends were out enjoying the sunshine. I finally woke up to the glaring error of my ways. There I was drafting correspondence, editing documents and attempting to do graphic design work. I realised that some of these tasks I wasn’t particularly strong at, and all of them could have very easily been passed to someone better qualified to do them, in less time and for a price I could well afford.
But still my trust issues got the better of me. I couldn’t just pass these tasks to anyone. So I found a friend, whom I had known for years and already trusted, to be my part time assistant. It was in doing this that my eyes were finally opened…
Over the next year, I was still learning to delegate properly but already my productivity more than doubled. The number of meetings I arranged with clients increased. I provided a better service to them – I saw them more, responded faster and more professionally to queries. Ultimately my business grew and I earned more money. Added benefits meant I had more spare time. I took more holidays and I saw my friends more. Most surprising of all, my confidence improved dramatically because I once again felt I could comfortably keep up the levels of service I was promising my clients.
It took me four long years to come to the realisation that delegation is critical if you want to grow your business. It is nearly nine years since that sunny April day in London. During that time I have moved from only trusting a friend to work for me, to becoming Director of Buy Time. A fantastic and flexible business and lifestyle support service that ‘does it all‘ and is trusted by entrepreneurs and SMEs across every industry.
The Art Of Delegation
As Brendan highlights starting to delegate is much like learning to ride a bike for for the first time. It requires business owners or managers to give up an element of control. When you have built a business up from scratch that can be a scary prospect. It is totally understandable – you started it and it’s your baby. Doing everything yourself will bring limited success – there is a ceiling to what you can achieve. For boundless growth you need to involve others. Putting trust in someone, in particular if you have not worked with them before, takes time. An unwillingness to share the workload is a common trait of many business founders.
It isn’t only business owners that struggle with delegation. There are the doubts that can enter a manager’s thinking. Do I really want to take the time to explain this to someone else? Or would it just be faster to do it myself? I love doing the social media posts, won’t I miss it if I give it up?
Delegation is not something that can happen overnight. It is a a gradual process where you begin small and build up. You start with one or two projects or tasks and gradually increase the involvement. This allows time to build trust and in turn strengthen the business relationship.
Successful delegation is based on human relationships. You don’t delegate to random strangers but it is about finding people that you can begin to trust and they can begin to trust you. This will gradually become a successful partnership. It is not so much about the work they are doing but about the people you are working with.
Learning To Let Go
Richard Branson famously said that he was never good with numbers. Rather than do the job himself badly he found other people – like accountants to take care of the details. As an entrepreneur his job is to create the best business possible. His strengths lie in finding skilled people to step in to deal with the areas that he is not so strong in. He identified that a successful leader doesn’t have the time or learning capacity to be good at everything. They can delegate things that they are not good at or things that don’t really add value.
“It also gives you time to spend with your family, which is really the most important thing of all” (Richard Branson)
Not only does Buy Time provide fully-bespoke and flexible executive and virtual assistance but it also offers a ready-made network of carefully selected, tried and tested partners, or by now trusted friends – which every subscriber is invited to draw upon. A dedicated executive can work wherever and whenever they are needed: be it from your home or office or from their own desks. They work as an integral part of your team to support your business and can flex with your requirements, providing more or less hours as is necessary. Consequently they reduce the financial strain whilst supporting your business grow. Our business executives are happy to work by the hour, the day or to create a plan to suit you – simply buy time as you need it. We are also able to provide holiday cover etc. so your business is never without support.
Our focus is our client. We therefore offer a flexible and transparent pricing structure. With no contract, subscription charges or minimum usage requirement, there are no real overheads to consider. Simply ‘buy time’ as it’s needed. We support businesses and individuals starting out on their journey as well as more established organisations. Many clients have been with us for years: our long-term relationships have benefited from this approach for well over a decade.
If you would like to find out more about how Buy Time can help, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 292 0566.
“The team at Buy Time and the partners they have introduced to me have enhanced what I do in ways I never knew were possible. And they can do the same for you… It’s in your best interest.” (Brenda Cluff, Entrepreneur)