( 6- Minute Read)
Knowing whether you should automate or delegate is a long-standing question several online business owners face, especially when you are in the business of serving people!
Personally, I’ve seen both in my client’s and my own business the benefits of both, but knowing which makes the most sense for you and your business can be difficult.
I know it sounds like a hard call to make, but that’s what this article is set to help you figure out!
I’ll break down the process into 3 easy questions to help determine if delegating or automating is best for YOUR business.
NOTE: If you prefer an audio-version, you can check out the video down below!
Now if you’re new here, last week we talked about when is the right time to start thinking about systems in your service-based business (if you haven’t seen that, you can check it out here). Today I am diving into an age-old question when it comes to systems: should you delegate or automate?
WHAT IS AUTOMATION vs DELEGATION
Before we get into the questions, let’s start with the difference between automation and delegation.
Automation and Delegation are two system types to help streamline tasks inside of a business. In their own way, they give entrepreneurs space to focus their time and energy on important and urgent tasks to maintain + grow your business.
Automation is streamlining tasks through technology with minimal input from a person. It’s automating tasks so no manual effort is required. Think sending an email through your email service provider. You don’t send those to each person individually, you’d use software like Mailchimp or MailerLite. On a fancier level, you may have encountered a customer service bot that answers basic questions for customers, before it reaches an actual human being.
Delegation is transferring responsibility to another human being, taking it off of your plate. Think of having your content repurposed by a Virtual Assistant, or, having a Social Media Coordinator handling your Instagram.
The tasks that work best for these two are those tasks that are repetitive, need to get done but aren’t in your Zone of Genius, or, require more energy than you are able to give on a consistent basis. Example: Mine is launching protocols and client onboarding (I’d rather spend more time with my clients than the admin tasks to prepare for them!)
The kicker is–when you are a solopreneur, and you have limited time and funds, when do you know which is right to implement?
Software or Bodies?
When should you automate vs. delegate?
You should automate when you have repeatable tasks that need to be done consistently and don’t require a human to complete. You should delegate when you have tasks that require another person to complete, but are not priority for you to complete.
3 Questions to Determine Whether Automation or Delegation is Needed in Your ONLINE Business
1. Does it require a human to run it?
Now obviously I’m not expecting your pet to come in and start doing work for you. But when you look at the tasks that run your business, there are going to be some that simply won’t require a human touch to get done. As an example, is how a person would need to write email content, but not need to send the email to a list. When you look at the work you are doing for coaching or providing a service, are there any tasks that NEED a person in order to complete it?
2. Is this something that needs to be done the exact same way, repeatably?
Regardless of whether you automate, delegate, or do both, it’s important to prepare your business for these new systems you implement. I can’t tell you how many businesses I have been a project manager in, where they had a team, but there were no processes to train the employees in what tasks they were owning, or, automated processes were not simplified, and caused more trouble than good. Some things to think about:
3. Would you consider this a simple task?
Just so we are all on the same page when I say ‘simple’, I mean it does not require a lot of problem-solving or energy to complete. Let’s say you have two tasks you handle in your business:
A. Scheduling a new client’s first call
B. Writing a content piece
With task A, you may have a concrete process that requires little change of decision-making to do. While Task B may require a bit more energy and more time for you to complete this task.
Task B would not be considered simple, and would probably need you or someone else to manage it. Task A, would be considered simple!
If you answered YES to Questions 2 and 3, this sounds like automation is the way to go! I have an in-depth article on how to automate your service-based business that gives you the breakdown on how to start turning energy-draining tasks into baked-in automation that can run without you.
If you answered YES to Question 1, and NO to Questions 2 and 3, delegation is going to be the right place to start. A word of caution though — you want to make sure you have clear standardized processes of how YOU run your business, so that whomever you delegate to knows exactly where to fit into your ecosystem, and how they can support you in running your business. You’ll want to check out my article How NOT to get fired by your team – best practices to delegate in your online business to give you more insight on how to prepare to delegate in your biz (because it’s a whole mindset shift I tell ya)!
Now, if you were a mix with these questions, and still are unsure which tasks even NEED to be automated or delegated, this would be a good time to do an audit for your business. Because the setup that GOT you here, isn’t going to be the one that supports you as you move or settle into a new season of business.
A great place to start is taking my free operations assessment! Not only does it help identify the first steps to take in your business based on the season you’re in, but also gives you access to my step-by-step audit guide, Pimp My Systems, where I walk you through the entire process I take my clients through to identify gaps, outline key priorities, and where best to create systems to build a sustainable and profitable business!
Best part? It’s completely free
Start the first question by clicking the image below!
Have I covered everything? Where have you delegated or automated your small business?
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I live in Melbourne, Australia, but I’m a Washingtonian born and raised. I’m a cat-mom, wifey, and in love with a good workflow (it gives me that warm, fuzzy, Christmastime feeling). My goal is to help female entrepreneurs stop having to choose between creativity and productivity to build a successful, sustainable business.
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