By Becky McCray
If you are “it” in the business, who can you delegate to?
- Family. This is where we all seem to start. Let the kids do age-appropriate tasks. Recruit extra family members to contribute. With family, it is especially important to match the person to the task, give extra support, and check back often. In other words, follow the rules for effective delegating.
- Local professionals. Give up the bookkeeping, ad design, collections, and photocopying. Turn to your local accountant, printer, attorney, or office supply store. Look around your town for more resources. Ask them what else they can do for you.
- Delivery. This is an advantage of being in a small town. Many businesses still deliver, cutting down your errand list. Also, in a small town, there’s probably “a guy with a truck” who can do some delivery driving at a low cost. Can’t get it delivered locally? Go online and let them ship direct to you.
- Suppliers. Ask them to do more, like pre-cut materials, suggest items that require less prep work, or even loan you experts or temporary staff.
- Nonprofit services. Check with your Small Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce, economic developer, technology center, college, vo-tech, and public schools for free or low cost services. You might be surprised what you find.
- Utility Companies and Cooperatives. Many offer special services for businesses and individuals, but you have to ask to find out.
- Online service providers. You can arrange for almost every business service online. Make a special effort to find fellow small-town pros.
- Interns. Allow students to help out for low pay or no pay. Start with your local college, high school and vo-tech, but don’t overlook the big state universities. Even if they are far away, they place students all over.
- The Computer. Automate as many tasks as possible. If you answer customers emails, become an expert in cut and paste. Ask the nearest 14 year old expert for more ideas.
- Customers. You probably have some raving fans out there who would love to be actively involved in the business, even for a short time. Match their skills against your list of tasks. Phone calls, deliveries, office work, prep work or even clean up may appeal to them.
That’s the first ten ideas from me. Now it’s up to you to share your ideas and your stories.
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