By Maria Valdez Haubrich
Are you like lots of entrepreneurs, feeling guilty that you’re not spending more time with your family (especially at this time of year) but worried that if you don’t spend every minute working on your business, it won’t survive?
This Houston Chronicle article gave me some good perspective on this common entrepreneurial dilemma. The author points out that handling every little task yourself can be penny-wise and pound-foolish if it leaves you with no time to do long-term planning and strategizing for your business.
To get a grip on what you can and should delegate, the article suggests keeping a time-log for a week to see exactly what you’re doing and how long it takes. (You may need to do this for longer than a week depending on the cycles of your business operations.) At the end of the chosen period, assess what’s crucial to the business and can only be handled by you, and what could be delegated to someone else.
Of course, another common problem right now is you may not have the money to hire a person to delegate to. If this is the case, look around you to see what kind of low- or no-cost options you have. Sometimes simple tasks such as filing, replying to e-mails, or packing and shipping can be handled by someone like a high-school intern. (Be sure you know what laws apply to interns in your state so you don’t run afoul of any laws.)
Perhaps you can even enlist your children or spouse in helping with some of the tasks of your business. This can be a good way to get more time with your family, help them understand what you’re trying to build and get them invested in your company’s success.