The Three Stages Of Business: Delegating, Managing & Leading

April 7, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Nothing, thankfully, ever stays the same. What was once a daily ritual of getting yourself organized for the day or week might now entail a staff meeting or crafting a manager’s conference. The challenge many business owners face is trying to manage the same way – whether they are by themselves or have staff – instead of updating their managing skills. Below are the three stages of business and some tips on how to manage accordingly.

Delegating: Often used as a term for assigning work to others, it is one of the first steps of being a business owner of a growing business. Delegating work to independent contractors, interns or staff is a great way to offload responsibilities that eat up too much of your time and keep you from doing what you know will help grow the business. For example, one of the areas many business owners delegate first is admin support. Why spend 10-20 hours on administrative tasks when you could be spending that time on business development or sales?

Quick Tip: Start tracking your time for a week, and if you find yourself spending too much time on a certain area (i.e., administrative duties), then start considering ways in which to delegate those responsibilities to someone else.

Managing: Managing happens the minute you have an employee, or are working with other independent contractors to complete a certain project, service or product. As a manager, it’s important that you communicate your expectations in the scope of work, deadlines, quality and payment. Managing is very different from delegating, because you are now no longer a one-man show but a team, and as such the needs of your team members must be taken into account. A great manager is able to empower their employees so they feel responsible for not just getting their work in, but the results they achieve.

Quick Tip: Do a quick check. Are you still running your business like a one-man show, or are you taking into account your team’s needs in order to build a stronger business? Don’t hesitate to conduct an anonymous poll or ask your employees/workers directly.

Leading: Too often the words “managing” and “leading” are used interchangeably, when they are in fact two very different things. Managers are in the trenches of business dealing, with day-to-day interruptions and problems and making sure everything is running as smoothly as possible. Leaders, on the other hand, are more like helicopters in the sky, scouting to see the nearest clearing. Leaders are always aiming at larger goals and visions down the road, and are less involved in the day-to-day responsibilities.

Quick Tip: Though it’s hard to be a leader all the time, are you adopting this philosophy of looking into the distant future, or are you too often getting caught up in the day-to-day? It’s crucial to be a good manager, but every so often peek your head out from chaos and ask yourself, “Is my business still headed in the right direction?”

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