Written by Idara Akan - 1/08/2016
Delegating does not mean giving up control of your business.
When you delegate, it may feel like you’re giving up control of your business! This is not true. You are only giving the task to another person to effectively execute it for you. When you’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing, and can consistently meet or even surpass your expectations, delegating will no longer be a challenge, but a relief.
Delegating gets the tasks eating up time in your schedule out of your way; freeing you up to focus on other, more important tasks that make you money. When you delegate, you practice skills inherent to business success: forethought, organization, communication, management, and teamwork. Most successful business owners and executives will agree that learning to delegate effectively has further empowered them and actually helped facilitate reaching the greater heights of success. Delegating to a Virtual Assistant means increased efficiency in your day-to-day business operations. Remember: you’re an entrepreneur, not an employee!
You could start by giving your Virtual Assistant the jobs you hate; hand over in stages, and the results will give you confidence, and encourage you to hand over other tasks. By following a series of steps each time you delegate you’ll achieve clarity in your requests and overall communication; avoiding unnecessary issues or misunderstandings. You’ll also feel more secure in the process of handing work off to someone else, and most importantly you’ll achieve better end results.
Business Process or Business Project
Firstly, we should recognise that in every organisation, business is done by performing work (an activity directed towards making or doing something). This work could either be part of the business operations or the business projects. What is the difference? While both the business operations and business projects share many characteristics; such as:
- Performed by people.
- Constrained by limited resources.
- Planned, executed, and controlled.
They differ primarily in that the business operations are ongoing and repetitive while the business projects are temporary and unique. Temporary meaning every project has a definite beginning and a definite end. Even though a project is temporary, its effect could create a lasting result. For example, a project to erect a national monument will create a result expected to last centuries.
Unique meaning the product or service is different in some distinguishing way from all similar products or services. Because the product of each project is unique, the characteristics that distinguish the product or service must be progressively elaborated.
Projects are often critical components of the performing an organization’s business strategy. Examples of projects include:
- Developing a new product or service.
- Effecting a change in structure, staffing, or style of an organization.
- Developing or acquiring a new or modified business process system.
- Constructing a building or facility.
- Running a campaign for the promotion of a product or service.
- Implementing a new business procedure or process.
How To Delegate A Business Process or Business Project
- In a nutshell, determine the tasks to be delegated. Work out the tasks that are draining your time so you can free yourself up to work on other, more important works. This task to be delegated could either be an operation or a project. If it is an operation, make sure there is a detailed operation manual to guide the Virtual Assistant so you are not disturbed. If it is a project, make sure to write a detailed user requirements or specifications (the objectives of the project: the benefits or outcomes of the project) and leave the rest to the Virtual Assistant. Confirm from the Virtual Assistant that the documentation on the project or operation is understood and sufficient.
- Breakdown the project or operation into smaller manageable tasks. These tasks could also be broken down into subtasks, if necessary. For each task or subtask, determine its expected duration (how long it will take to be completed).
- Within each task, specify milestones (significant phases or events in the project or operation) and its deliverables (something to be provided as proof that the milestone has been completed or achieved). Obviously, the more clarity you can offer regarding your expectations, the better the outcome will be.
- Make sure your milestones and deliverables are well-received by asking for feedback. Also ask your Virtual Assistant for feedback or suggestions on how the project might be (better) executed, how he or she can help you achieve the results you’re looking for, and any other input they might have to offer. Where there are constraints or risks, this will be when the Virtual Assistant will highlight them. Remember, your Virtual Assistant is an expert in their own right, picking their brain is one of the perks!
- Once all of the information has been shared and thoroughly discussed, issue a brief recap of your understanding of what will be done, how it will be done, and when it will be completed. This will help bring up any lingering questions or items that still need to be addressed and ensure a smooth start to your project.
You’ve just delegated a task, which was otherwise going to eat up your schedule, and created more time for yourself to focus on something else. Now, let your Virtual Assistant run with it. Monitor periodically by requesting for the deliverable when the milestone is due.
It’s also a good idea to invite your Virtual Assistant to feel free to get in touch with any questions or issues that might crop up during the course of the project or operation.
One Last Tip!
Where an operation has been modified, it would be beneficial for you to have the VA document this process for future reference. Besides, it will keep the operation manual for your organisation up-to-date!
5M eServices Limited is a Virtual Assistant Services Agency dedicated to taking care of the little things so that you can focus on your core business.
- Virtual Assistantville. (2012) The Smart Business Owner’s Guide to Virtual Assistance. http://virtualassistantville.com [accessed on 1/08/2016]
- Duncan, W. R. (1996) A Guide To The Project Management Body Of Knowledge. North Carolina: PMI Publishing Division.