Handling your marketing single-handedly is not easy. While you can try to improve your weaker areas, this will likely take a lot of time and energy and when you are running a small business, your time and energy are precious.
Instead of trying to learn the skills you lack, it is usually more worthwhile to focus on your strengths and delegate tasks you are weak at. Now ask yourself, are you investing your time and energy in the right activities?
As they say, the smartest leaders focus on where they excel and let others do the rest. When it comes to task delegation, many people still find that difficult. However, spinning your wheels trying to become a marketing expert when you already have so many other things on your plate generally leads to decreased productivity and effectiveness in all areas of your business. Everyone has their strengths, so if you truly want your business to thrive, learn how to delegate the tasks that dominate too much of your time.
Here are seven steps to help you hand over your marketing functions effectively and concentrate on the core of your business.
Learn to Let Go
While you may be great at some tasks, it does not necessarily mean you need to accomplish them on your own. Sometimes, your dedication to completing the job can hold you back from asking for outside help. In other cases, your hesitation stems from a fear that your team may not complete their duties as quickly or as effectively as you can.
Your reasons may seem valid but when you want your business to move forward, you have to focus on larger responsibilities. That said, you need to determine which roles need to be delegated. Ideally, you will want to start with the smallest tasks and gradually work your way up.
Social media, for example, plays a huge role in your marketing but it takes up a lot of time and effort. It also requires an expert’s knowledge. There are different channels you need to manage, different audiences you need to engage with, different metrics you need to track, and not to mention, the types of content you need to post on a daily basis.
Understandably, as a business owners, the social media arena is less likely to be your strong point. Even if it is, you generally don’t have enough time for it. So among the myriad of tasks, which one should you start giving out? Again, take baby steps. Scheduling of posts is a great place to start. Once you are comfortable with how things are running, then you can proceed to delegating another social media task.
There are also other important areas in marketing that needs careful attention and expertise. These may include email newsletters, blog writing, graphic design, lead generation and the list goes on. Consider delegating them, along with other marketing duties that are likely to take up too much of your time. Once you have freed up some of your time, you can focus on areas in which you excel.
Hone Your Strengths, Delegate Your Weaknesses
Take some time to understand where your business needs you the most and where you require assistance. In most scenarios, you will have to put effort into building a strategy, meeting with qualified leads, building relationships with your customers, and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry.
Furthermore, explore which of your skills align with your core competency. Perhaps you are great at laying out strategies but are terrible at completing them. Or maybe you are a whiz at lead generation but cannot wrap your head around social media management.
On the other hand, you might be unbeatable when it comes to giving presentations. But you always find yourself struggling when creating an easy-to-read article. If something isn’t your forte, why not step back and let your employees cover your weaknesses? Alternatively, hire people who can complement your skills by excelling where you struggle. In this case, hiring a blog writer is a good idea.
There is so much a blog writer can do for you. First, a writer can help you turn your thoughts into digestible, readable content. Secondly, not only do you save your time for other tasks, the content is produced more quickly and at a higher standard. Last but not least, you get a fresh perspective on great content opportunities.
When you know where you need support, it is easier to create a team who can truly help you in improving your business performance.
Identify the Best People in Your Team
There are certainly people on your team who are better equipped to manage certain areas in your marketing. You just have to find out who and where they are. The ideal place to delegate is in-house if you have resources that excel in what you need.
When hiring internally, make sure to choose those who are ready and are willing to take on more responsibilities. Then examine whether the tasks are aligned with their strengths and talents.
Let’s say you already have a content writer but no one is managing your social media accounts yet. Try reaching out to the writer to see if they also have social media management skills.
Many tools, such as Zoho People, actually have built-in Skills functions that allow employees to list secondary skills. This is a great way to quickly take a look at people within your organization who might be able to lend a hand outside of their department or even potentially be moved to a position that better aligns with their skills.
If you don’t have a team yet and are not quite ready to get someone on a full-time basis, you can get started by hiring a virtual assistant. Instead of paying a part-time or full-time employee, you can pay a virtual assistant by the hour. This set-up works quite well for businesses on a shoestring budget.
Getting a virtual assistant offers numerous advantages. They can monitor routine work so instead of you checking every individual’s task, the virtual assistant can handle that on your behalf. They can follow up with your graphic designer for an overdue artwork or check in on your social media manager regarding a new campaign. In other words, a virtual assistant can act as a liaison between you and the marketing team.
If you decide to outsource, be selective. Start slowly with a small project so you can examine closely if their skill set matches your requirements. Stay engaged until the individual has proven him/herself. Not sure how to hire a VA? Here’s more on what to ask a Virtual Assistant candidate.
Whether you are outsourcing or hiring internally, develop clear job descriptions so people will know exactly what is expected of them. Clearly identify tasks and deliverables and schedule regular meetings. In doing so, you can be sure that tasks are getting done in less time and you are getting a good value for your money.
Give Out Clear Instructions
Even if the responsibilities seem comprehensible to you, make sure to provide detailed instructions for every assignment you delegate. Don’t assume your employees know what you mean. For example, don’t just instruct someone to “manage the email list,” set out clear expectations and goals.
If you have particular requirements for how to do the job, be clear about that. If you have a strict deadline or milestones you need to hit, get straight to the point. This ultimately avoids communication gaps and will help your people tackle projects more effectively.
Training and properly communicating with the employees you delegate tasks to is essential. Yes, it may take up more of your time in the beginning, but if you put in the time and effort from the start, it will pay off in the future. If you clearly communicate your wants and needs and carefully train your employees, they will quickly begin to make your life easier and free up a lot more time for you to focus on the aspects of your business that you are most passionate about.
Share Your Vision, Empower, and Trust
Let your employees know about your business strategy. Having a shared vision of the future allows your team to view their roles in a more meaningful way. Not only does it boost their morale, it also motivates them to improve their productivity.
Once the task is delegated, trust that your people can execute it on their own terms. This empowers them to handle their roles the way they feel is best. It also holds them accountable for their actions.
However, don’t hesitate to check in and verify if the job is progressing as planned. For example, if you assigned a task a couple of weeks ago and it’s due in a month, trust that your team is on top of things, but make sure to check in occasionally, perhaps once a week, to see where they are and how things are going.
Set-up a System
Be more effective in delegation by using the right system. There are a plethora of marketing tools and solutions out there – such as Trello, an app where you can create a workflow using color-coded cards and boards. Hubspot is also one of the top players when it comes to marketing. Asana is an excellent tool for tracking progress of a collaborative project.
With a solid system in place, you don’t have to be there for things to get done. You only have to create a task and assign the right person. It is also easier for you to keep track of how each project is moving. In addition, developing a system will help you understand the nature of your tasks and allow you to delegate efficiently.
As a business owner, you will come up with different marketing ideas. But for your ideas to turn into life, you need to take the right steps. With task delegation, you are in better position to put your ideas into action because you have the right people and the right system to back you up.
Another good thing with delegation is that you have veto power over all marketing plans. People might take on different roles, but you always have the final say. You also learn different ideas from marketing experts which can ultimately help your business thrive and survive in today’s cut-throat market.
Delegating can be tough at first. The process may not always be black and white and mistakes are bound to happen in the process. The trick here is to consistently follow through, ask for regular reports from your people, and learn from your experiences. Keep these things in mind and you will be well on your way to successful delegation.