One of the greatest mistakes that modern business owners make — especially given the powerful technology at their fingertips — is believing that they must do everything on their own. The belief that the best entrepreneurs and business owners do everything single-handedly is a dangerous trap to fall into, and frankly, a myth. In fact, as companies and projects surge in popularity and demand, their teams typically expand exponentially. Why do teams grow as businesses grow? The answer is simpler than you may think: to make the most of the growth. By determining what your essential, nonnegotiable tasks are as a business owner and delegating the rest, you can reap the benefits of an expanding business and create more free time to do what you do best.
Four Kinds Of Business Tasks
As a business owner and entrepreneur, you are undoubtedly already familiar with the multitude of operational tasks required to sustain an operational business — everything from social media content production to product and service delivery. For small businesses that started with one person (the business owner), this person is usually responsible for all these tasks: producing and delivering the product or service, marketing the product or service, serving as the primary point of contact for the public and handling all accounting and payment-related duties. In contrast, a massive business — for example, the corporate conglomerates Amazon or The Walt Disney Company — employs millions of people to handle these tasks. Most companies land somewhere between the two extremes: Ideally, there is an individual (or group of individuals) delegated to each type of task.
There are four categories of tasks that are responsible for generating business: no-income, low-income, high-income and legacy-building. Each of these categories serves a critical purpose in business building, and it is typically ill-advised to eliminate one in the hopes of building efficiency or reducing overhead costs.
No-income business tasks are the services, products and outreach that do not directly generate any income for you or your business. These tasks are intended to build rapport, gain name and brand recognition, sustain and expand your platforms and/or reward loyal customers. No-income tasks may include social media content production, feedback solicitation, customer service follow-up, newsletters and business advertising.
Low-income business tasks generate revenue for your business but at a low level. These tasks are similar to no-income tasks and outreach but are often intended to provide quantifiable value to customers. This may mean dispensing a basic sample service or product, such as a reduced-rate consultation, an e-book, a subscription service (low-to-mid value) or an auxiliary service, a bonus item or a mini-product.
High-income-producing tasks are where the majority of a business’s revenue is generated. These tasks revolve around the production and distribution of products or services and the creation of new business outreaches and are usually directly related to the highest-value transactions occurring within the company. High-income-producing tasks may include directly interfacing with clients and other companies, exchanging or producing goods and services, collaborating with peers and new product or service generation.
Legacy-building tasks supersede all other categories not because of income-producing capacity (although that may be related), but because these tasks are directly responsible for ensuring the longevity and long-term recognition of your business, company, project or outreach. Entrepreneurs and business owners strive to create something that ultimately becomes self-sustaining, outliving them and indelibly embedding itself into culture and society forever.
Legacy-building tasks are not always business-related — in fact, they are often interpersonal in nature, including spending time with family and children, community outreach, volunteer work and charity donation, not-for-profit outreaches and sister companies with humanitarian or culture-focused roots.
Discovering Your Role
As a business owner and entrepreneur, it is critical to remember your role in your business. The most valuable contributions you can make are high-income-producing and legacy-building tasks — after all, the work that falls into these categories is often precisely the type of work you began your business to accomplish. As much as possible, delegate all no-income and low-income tasks to your associates. Delegation is an invaluable tool, and whether it means finding a single multitalented individual to work with or a team of specialized employees, there is no greater investment than team-building to help grow and expand your business. Remember: As your team expands, so does the capacity of your business to generate more business.
Analyze your business model to determine which no-income and low-income tasks you are currently executing; then, begin hiring to delegate these tasks off your to-do list. The more you delegate, the more time you give yourself to focus on high-income tasks and legacy building — the only items that will truly secure the future of your business.
Tasks and activities that are standard business requirements, such as advertisement, customer outreach and service quality, may all be passed into the capable hands of your carefully selected, qualified staff. Tasks and activities that are “outside the box” — those that are unique to your ingenuity and business-oriented skill-set — are your tasks. Once you devote the majority of your energy to taking on your business’s higher-order tasks, you’ll watch your business, your income and your outreach skyrocket accordingly.