“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

You’re familiar with quote and the logic behind it. As a business owner or manager, it is less risky to handle the daily tasks of operations yourself to ensure the end product or service remains consistent and quality. When business operations are decentralized away from the business owner or key managers, the opportunity for something to fall through the cracks rises, and in fact, becomes a certainty.

So why not do it all yourself? Simply stated: that is cheating. You’re cheating your customers, your employees (or potential employees), your business, and especially yourself. By not delegating every task possible, you’re not making the best use of your resources. Your time is worth something, and while some peoples’ time is worth more than others, we all can put a value to our time. If you haven’t, do it now.

Here are two simple ways to value your time. The first is to do an assessment of your skill-set and find comparables for how your skill-set is compensated in another business. How do you know what other businesses are compensating? Simple. Just ask. Some may refuse you the information, but not everyone. The second way to value your time is to take your business’ net profit and simply divide it by the number of hours you worked in that period. I strongly prefer the first method if your business is new or plans on growing.

Say you’ve decided your time is worth $50 an hour. It’s self-evident that any task you perform that someone else (or something else) could do for less than $50/hour, should be done by someone making less than $50/hour. Are you scheduling your own appointments? Are you completing data entry? Are you preparing mail and delivering it to the post office? Are you doing any task that you could delegate to someone whose time is not yet worth $50 an hour?

I certainly have plenty of tasks I perform throughout my working hours that I could be, and should be, delegating. And I’m confident most of you do as well. So why don’t we delegate? Because it takes time to delegate. To find, hire, and/or train the right person or company to delegate tasks to requires a significant investment of time. Our focus is on the cost of the investment instead of the return. If we focus on the return, we’d be much more eager to delegate.

Another reason for failure to delegate is the elevated risk in doing so. It seems prudent to avoid the added overhead expense of more employees or contractors. When volume & revenue dip, having delegated tasks to others will likely result in suspending those relationships or having to absorb a larger hit to your own compensation. Neither option is preferred, but both are well worth the risk. Why? The same reason you got into business in the first place: the ability to increase your business’s productivity could, and will likely, reap rewards that make the increased risk worth it. Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, says “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Take 15 minutes right now to jot down every task you’ve done related to your business the past 2 weeks. Then, once you have established the value of your time, go through your list, circling every task that could, and should, be done by someone else. At least once a week, set a time in your schedule to invest in the delegation of those tasks. Those three simple steps will change your business and your life.

Your time is the most valuable resource you have, so start treating it that way.

Wakefield Hare
Owner, Greater Than Financial

Wakefield is a Certified Financial Planning® Professional and owner of Greater Than Financial. His time is dedicated to simplifying complex financial and investment issues for business owners and families to ensure they are maximizing their resources. If you aren’t confident that you are doing the best you can with what you have, don’t hesitate to contact Wakefield.