Expert Advice: Why start-ups and SMEs need to learn how to delegate

Here’s what you need to know

Entrepreneurs and startup owners find it difficult to place their company in others’ hands

Business leaders share their advice on the importance of delegating and how to do it effectively

For entrepreneurs and small-business owners, delegating to others requires a big leap of faith. But the startups grow and become successful are the ones that learn how to work as a team.

Delegating can be difficult; how do you learn to put your company’s future in the hands of someone else?

Before you can delegate effectively, you need to have the right team in place it doesn’t need to be a big team, but it does need to be a well-trained one that you can trust. This is what your recruitment and training strategies should aim towards.

As an entrepreneur you have to weigh this initial investment against the future benefits and savings from having a well-trained team you trust to undertake work for your company.

1. Use it as a team development exercise

Phil Foster, managing director at business electricity comparison site Love Energy Savings, whose guide to delegating gives further advice from inspirational entrepreneurs, says:

“Delegating tasks to your team is an essential aspect of both driving a business forward and employee engagement. While it may be easier to complete the task yourself in the short term, delegating to employees will provide the challenges and opportunities your staff need to learn new skills and expand existing ones.

“Draw on your employees’ strengths and build a team that will support you and business growth in the long run.”

2. Build a team you can trust

According to Adrian Harvey, CEO of corporate training providers Elephants Don’t Forget, delegating is only possible when you have the right team:

“For me,if there’s one word that encompasses the successful SME philosophy, it’s‘reputation’, as that engenders customer trust. The customer trusts me that I’ll do what I say I’ll do– and I always do because I care passionately about my business and put my customers first. 

“So any member of our team I delegate work to has to care as much as I do and must have the appropriate skills to carry out the task.

“Getting people in your business who care as much as you do means recruitingpeople with the right attitude.”

3. Invest in people

Tim Foster, director and head of Being Awesome at The Yummy Collection, says:


“Along with my two business partners, I own six venues and look after 128 people. I can’t be everywhere at once – that’s a fact.

“The most important aspect of my business is the ‘people’ who run our venues, they make it a welcoming and fun experience for our customers, they are the soul of Yummy.

“Being a business owner means I have to trust in my people and the work they do. It’s an integral part of training, managing and developing teams. Trust and mutual respect is what Yummy is built on.”  

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