Ten Things You Might Not Think to Delegate But Should

June 28, 2012 · Posted in Business Tips, Cost-Saving Tips, Time Management Tips · Comment 

Just about everyone suffers from a lack of time to do all the things they want, or even need, to do in their business.  One of the solutions to freeing up your time is to delegate.  The question is, what are the most effective tasks to delegate?  Here are ten ideas for you to consider (or reconsider) to free up your valuable time for more important things.

1. Social media.

We didn’t even have social media ten years ago, but now that we do, it can be a major investment in time.  Some companies ignore it completely, not wanting to open that can of worms, but done well, social media can have a great payback.

Rather than ignore it or take up your important time, turn it over to an intern or recent college grad who probably knows more about it anyway!

2. Grocery shopping.

You might think this is only for rich people, but it’s simply not true and very cost-effective.

Grocery shopping is a personal task, but time doesn’t distinguish between work and personal; it keeps marching on.  Set up a grocery list and find someone who wants to work part-time (your housekeeper might know someone).  You’ll be able to free up several hours per week, plus you’ll likely be helping someone who needs the money.

The money you pay to your shopper is not a business expense.  Instead, they may be a Schedule H employee, so you’ll need to keep your books separate or alert your accountant.  Also check on any liability issues with your insurance company if they will be driving on your behalf.

Once you get past a few small setup hassles, you’ll love this.

3. Your email.

How much of your email could be handled by one of your employees?  Set up separate emails by function and not by people so that your employees can take over more of this ever-growing task.  Anything that you respond to the same way over and over again can be drafted in a procedure.   Employees or a virtual administrative assistant can be trained on what to send to whom.

4. Training employees.

Once you get one employee trained, that employee may be able to train additional hires, freeing you up from having to do so.  Well-written procedures will go a long way to reduce training time, and even writing procedures can be delegated to the right person.

5. Vendor research and purchase.

Need to find a hotel to host an event?  Or a webinar company?  Or a project management system?  All of these items require research to find good vendors, and as business owners, we may tend to do this ourselves when we can write up a few guidelines and give the task to a capable employee who would enjoy researching the topic and writing up some options for you to review.

6. Hiring.

Hiring can be one of the most time-consuming tasks of all.  I’m definitely not suggesting delegating the final decision on hiring, just the search process.  I’ve heard of business owners who delayed hiring because they froze at the sight of a 6-inch tall stack of resumes they had to go through.

It might pay to hire an agency to do the screening for you so that you are presented with only the finalists.

7. Bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping is also one of those time-consuming tasks, with two added challenges:  everywhere you turn, there are deadlines and regulations, plus it requires special skills that need updating frequently.  All of this screams to be delegated when possible.

8. Sales.

When you first start your business, you are generally the only one selling.  To get it off the ground, you eventually need a team of people to help you sell your goods and services.  As your sales team gets better and better, you can delegate larger and larger sales opportunities to them.  Who knows, if you’re not natural at sales, you may have employees who are better at this than you.

9. Writing.

Writing can be extremely time-consuming for some people.  Great writing requires a long learning curve, so if writing is not a core skill for you, you may want to look around for someone you can delegate or outsource this task to.  This includes things like writing procedures, web sites, job descriptions, marketing copy, proposals, and even something as small as thank you notes.

10. Calendar scheduling.

All that back and forth phone tag, email tag, postponements, cancellations, and other scheduling challenges can be delegated to free you up for making even more appointments.

Your time is incredibly valuable, and the only way to make it more valuable is to accomplish increasingly valuable tasks that only you can do while delegating the tasks that other people can do.  As a general rule, anything that is not in your core skill set or core business is fair game for delegation.  If someone else can do it faster, then it’s fair game for delegation.

Think about what you’re spending a lot of time on (and possibly spinning your wheels at the same time).  This is a task that can possibly be delegated, so oyu can free up your time for more important things.

Are You in the Business of Pleasure?

You might not think you are in the business of pleasure, but we all are, to one degree or another.  If we don’t give our clients a great experience, they’re not likely to come back.  That’s why we can learn so much from the entertainment industry, even though we might not be in it directly.

Pleasing Clients

From the day a prospect calls you, emails you, or enters your shop, what do they see, hear, feel, taste, and smell?  Is it pleasant?

  •  In a movie theater, the smell of popcorn is tempting as you take your comfortable seat and watch previews, engaging you while you wait for the start of the movie.
  • In a spa, you are treated to snacks and drinks in a comfortable robe while you wait for your session.
  • In a restaurant, you are served drinks, music, and appetizers while you enjoy the company of your friends and family.

There’s no reason your customer experience couldn’t be as enjoyable, even if you are a dentist, a doctor, a lawyer, or a professional that’s associated with a somewhat unpleasant service.

Your Company Experience in Surround Sound

The first step you can take to enhancing your prospects’ or clients’ experiences is to map out all of the interaction points they have with you.  Your list could look like this:

  •  Website
  • Phone call
  • Office appointment
  • Email
  • Billing

Or this:

  •  Walk-in to store
  • Employee greeting and interaction
  • Sales at register
  • Charge on credit card statement
  • Thank you note

Make a chart like the one below for each touch point and fill in what you think your customer may experience with you at each point.  It’s perfectly OK to have some that won’t apply; I don’t know of any technology that will get your email to smell!

 

Touchpoint Sight Sound Touch Taste Smell
Walk-in to store Merchandise Loud rock music Fabrics Refreshments Lavender
Employee greeting Well-groomed employee wearing the sale item featured in your store Pleasant, not pushy Products Drinks are offered
….
Phone call Voice mail that is not initialized Automated voice N/A N/A N/A
Office appointment Lobby with awards and prospect kits rather than magazines Calming standards piped in Fabric of chairs Refreshments Cinnamon

 

As you review your chart, are there any areas in which you could improve?  The nice thing about charting it out is that it organizes it for you so that any weaknesses or strengths pop right out.  The ones highlighted in yellow could be improved!

Where you have touch points with limited sensory impact such as email, phone, and billing, it is important to make the most of the senses you do have access to since they will be amplified.

If you feel like you cannot be impartial or simply don’t know what your customer experiences, you can hire a mystery shopper to provide an objective report of your customer experience.

A Movie with Great Reviews

Your client already has a movie going on in their mind about what it will be like to do business with you.  Your job is to impress them with an experience they won’t forget, and you can do it in any situation, no matter what business you’re in.

Examples:

  •  Dentists:  One of the worst parts of going to the dentist is hearing the sound of the drill.  Pass out iPods and headphones with a choice of music styles to drown out the unpleasantness.
  •  Restaurant owners: If your customers have to wait for a table, hire a mime, clown, or performer that can keep them occupied and make the wait time go fast.
  •  Plumbers:  Leave behind a clean house and scented oils for the kitchens and bathrooms.
  •  Retail shop owners:  Heat up a pinch of cinnamon in your microwave to have the whole store smelling like an apple pie or some scent that coordinates with your merchandise.

If your clients call you by phone rather than see you in person, you can script a pleasant greeting for your employees to memorize.  For clients on hold, give them something memorable to listen to such as a poem, jokes, or unusual music.  Even with email, you can create a great signature line that appeals to your clients, and of course, craft a message full of gratitude and compliments.

When you can wrap an excellent experience around the products and services you sell to customers, your word-of-mouth will spread, saving you time and money.  Think of what will work in your industry, and give your ideas a try.

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