A wise business coach will recommend outsourcing to her or his clients. While it’s true that success relies on delegation, it’s critical to know what should be handed off to an assistant or contractor, and what should always be handled by the entrepreneur.
Always Defer to the Experts
Mundane business details should always be handled by whoever is best for the job. For example, I am not a bookkeeper, and my assistant is currently retaking her accounting class, so neither of us are good candidates as Uncle Sam liaison’s. We rely on Quick Books and a CPA to avoid IRS scrutiny. The point here is that it’s important to hire professionals for jobs that distract us from making money and moving our businesses forward.
The Girl Behind the Curtain
Some tasks should never be assigned to someone else, such as connecting with customers and using social media to build relationships with clients and prospective clients. I recently emailed a business and got an auto~response that acknowledged receipt of my email, and promised a response within two or three days. I was rather offended by this, although I’m sure the company felt it was a great service.
Personally, I find those to be annoying and a waste of my in~box space. I have never thought, “wow, I didn’t get an auto~response, I wonder if my email arrived? And gee, how long will it take for them to get back to me?”. It seems a little narcissistic to think that anyone who emails me is on the edge of their seat waiting and wondering what will happen to their email once they hit send.
Relationship Building Shouldn’t be Delegated
When clients email me, they usually receive a response within a few hours from either myself or my assistant. It’s not an efficient use of time to constantly check emails, but checking twice a day and responding to any “money mail” as soon as possible is imperative. Because many people research their buying decisions online before they buy, it’s pretty likely that they are emailing more than one company at a time. It’s important to be among the first to respond to any initial inquiries.
Take Time to Connect
Many emails I receive are from people I “know”, although have never met in person. The best part of my day is often connecting with my friends via email and social media. My visibility and accessibility has brought me many new connections and clients over the years. Sure, I could decide to only answer emails a couple designated days a week, but I wouldn’t enjoy my work very much. Yes, my assistant helps me with my emails, but not all of them. It only takes a minute to type a quick response on my Blackberry, which is the best time saver I have found.
I took a call in my office yesterday from an older lady who saw an article I write for a local magazine. She was a delight to talk to, and I was happy to give her some free advice and refer her to an acupuncturist. It wouldn’t be profitable to not let my assistant screen my calls, but I made a connection with a lady who needed help, and that feels better than 30 minutes of productivity somewhere else.
Effective Social Media Relies on You
To quote the Wizard of Oz, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”. This is often the case when an entrepreneur doesn’t connect with people, their company might be ignored in favor of a more accessible competitor. Social media is a marketing strategy that shouldn’t be delegated. It’s important to be visible, accessible, authentic and transparent, none of which can be achieved by assigning your voice to an employee or contractor.
If I weren’t writing my own blog posts, or logging into Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, the members of my circle (the trendy word for it is “tribe” these days) would most likely sense it. You probably are more interested in what I have to say than what my ghost writer thinks I might have to say. Would you agree?
I think this Wizard of Oz quote succinctly recaps my point: A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others. Wizard of Oz:
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What are your thoughts on this topic? Please leave me a comment, I would love to know your thoughts.