When you want to grow, you need sales — more clients, more money coming in, and more opportunities to spread the word about what you bring to the table. The more time you spend on the basic operation of your business, the less time you can commit to getting out there and convincing people that you’re worth their time and investment.
So what’s the solution to this conundrum? You can automate some tasks, of course, but there are plenty that you can’t. To move ahead, you need to delegate: pass some of your responsibilities to your employees, allowing you the time you need to be the figurehead. Here’s how the key art of delegation can help you streamline your role:
Upskilled employees save you time
Delegation, in general, isn’t only important as a small business owner because of the time it directly saves. It’s also important because employees grow when given new responsibilities to embrace and new tasks to learn. Let them develop their skills, and they’ll become increasingly capable of running your everyday business, leaving you to direct all the energy at your disposal to your ongoing sales efforts — remember to gather meaningful feedback so you know where their strengths and weaknesses lie (SurveySparrow has a neat tool for this).
Think of what you can realistically delegate to your staff members today (it might not be that much). Perhaps you can allow one person to post social media updates, but only when you’ve reviewed them. Given a year working on social media for your company, for instance, and they may be sufficiently comfortable with that type of task so you can leave the entire operation to them. Another example would be handling customer service: once someone understands the tone and responsibilities of your company, they’ll be primed to take ownership of the process.
When you keep all the tasks to yourself, you rapidly start barreling towards burnout, and you deprive your employees of opportunities to grow. They’re your greatest investments, and the value they’ll return if you trust them will be enormous — so let them get involved, and they’ll enable you to sell at greater scale.
Handled finances let you spend to win clients
If you’ve helmed a growing business for any amount of time, you know that tracking your income and outgoings is mission-critical to your growth. You have to spend money to make money, as they say, and the best clients will need to be courted and won over in a process that can’t always be done cheaply.
When you’re handling the finances yourself, it’s hard to balance it with advancing sales efforts, because you face a fundamental conflict: as a business owner, you want to save money wherever possible, but as a salesperson, you want to spend to make prospective clients happy and (fingers crossed) win their business as a result. For example, you could arrange a business dinner, invest in a high-quality printed presentation, or purchase some personalized gifts.
If you delegate financial duties to a colleague, business partner or hired financial consultant, you can focus on communicating with possible clients without needing to give too much thought to what your company can or can’t afford. This is particularly effective if they use free or low-cost fintech software to keep everything in line — for instance, coupling a budgeting tool like GnuCash with Wave’s online invoice maker should be sufficient to cover all their needs.
Once they have everything under control, you need only consult the figures provided to you (it will also look better to people that you’re not handling finances yourself, because a stressed and overworked leader can easily make basic mistakes).
Delegating financial tasks will allow you to focus on sales in another way too — accurate financial data will give you a good idea of how much you have to sell, and when. Having access to financial forecasts and running off budgets you haven’t had to create from scratch will help you be more strategic about your sales strategy. Focusing on sales isn’t just about going full-throttle — it’s about having a well-oiled and growth-minded sales machine that’s aligned with the business and its commercial needs.
Stronger teams make for stronger sales pitches
Making sales isn’t always simply about pitching whatever product or service you’re offering. In many cases (particularly in the B2B world), you’re also pitching your company as a whole — asking prospective clients to trust in the stability and competence of your entire team, as well as your ability to serve as an effective leader.
Now imagine how it would come across to tell someone you’re hoping to land as a client that you do everything yourself and don’t trust your employees to get involved. They’d likely be concerned about two things: your likelihood of reliably fulfilling your duties without breaking down from stress, and your ability to effectively use the human resources at your disposal.
More importantly, your sales funnel inevitably runs through your entire business, with everyone — even the person answering the phone — playing a role. The difference between winning and losing a client can easily be the sum of numerous minor things, so spreading confidence and responsibility throughout your team is only going to make your company look better and lead to a boost in your conversion rate.
As a small business owner, you always have the final say over everything that happens, so you don’t need to do every last thing yourself. The more you delegate responsibilities to people you trust, the more easily you’ll handle your sales budget, the stronger your team will become, and the better you’ll come across to prospective clients.