Back Office Secrets
with Jenny Shih

Back Office Secrets: How to Delegate It Right the First Time, Every Time

After a decade of working in corporate America and several more as a solo entrepreneur, I’ve realized….

Most people stink at delegating. Especially entrepreneurs.

It’s true! We’re used to being in control, we tend to micromanage, and we’re always juggling ten things at once.

So even when we hire a smart, capable, and willing assistant, details can get lost in those last-minute emails or emergency text messages. That means errors, miscommunication, and frustration… even when hiring someone means our lives are supposed to get easier!

If you can relate to some less-than-perfect delegation, here’s some highly effective tips for helping your assistant get the task done right the first time, saving you and your assistant a ton of time in the long run.

How to Delegate It Right the First Time, Every Time

person-with-ipad1. Slow down

Slowing down when you delegate, instead of blurting out a half-complete email, instant message, text, or audio snippet can actually save you time.

Even when time is of the essence, being thorough is absolutely crucial. Stream-of-consciousness emails usually cause more confusion than they eliminate. Your explanations may be lacking, or you could miss important project details.

Always take the time to re-read emails before you send them. It won’t take more than a few minutes, and will save you hours, because you won’t have to re-articulate anything that got lost in translation.

2. Make sure your message includes these 5 key points

Before you shoot your assistant one more to-do email, check it against these 5 points, which will help her get the job done right without having to bug you for more info.

1. What you want done
2. How you want it done
3. The outcome you desire
4. Any specific areas she’s able to make decisions on your behalf
5. The deadline

If the task is a little more complicated, there’s an easier way to describe your “how” to your assistant. It’s a little program called ScreenFlow, and it’s an easy way to make instructional videos so your assistant know exactly how to do what you want her to do.

Hint: This is also a fabulous way to train a new assistant!

3. Take it one step at a time

When you give your assistant a chance to get intimately familiar with the jobs she’ll be doing over and over, she can help your business run like clockwork. Give her one task to master first before you pile on a truckload. If she is given the time to really get things right from the beginning, you’ll both be better off in the long run.

I always encourage business owners to first delegate posting (not writing) their blogs. You don’t need to be the one to post it to your website and newsletter; she can. Send your assistant a thoroughly detailed email or ScreenFlow video, and ask her not hit the “submit” or “send” button until you’ve had a chance to review her work. See if she has questions. Fill in any gaps, and explain the things she may have misunderstood.

Have her do that task again next week. Check her work. See if she has further questions.

Once you’ve done that twice, she’ll be a master and that task is off of your plate and on hers. Then, you can move on to the next sphere (getting ready for classes, social media, etc.). In no time, your assistant will be able to execute every task flawlessly – freeing you up to do more of what you love.

Happy Assistants Make for Happy Businesses

You hired help for a reason: you want your business to run as smoothly as possible! So make sure you’re giving your right hand woman or man everything they need to get their work done right the first time.

Now I want to hear from you!

What are some of your favorite tools for delegating efficiently?
How has your assistant helped your business?

In the mean time, if you need more tips for effective delegation or streamlining your business, download a free copy of The System Flight Kit, Everything you need to create effective systems for your business.

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About Jenny Shih

Jenny Shih of jennyshih.com is a coach and consultant for small business owners. Her clients are “idea factories” with growing businesses who need help planning, strategizing, streamlining and systematizing. She helps new entrepreneurs define their niche, learn the basics of marketing, and start making money. And she helps experienced entrepreneurs set up systems so they can get out of the daily grind and spend more time doing what they love.

Jenny is the author of The System Flight Kit, everything you need to create effective systems in your business, and The Idea Flight Kit, a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into something real. Download your copies right here. They’re FREE!