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Delegating can help your business grow

A business owner with tight control over all aspects of their business may actually hamper or prevent business growth according to Kathy Macomber, a business development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"When you think about it, if the time available from the business owner is the scarcest resource, it may set the maximum limit on the size of the business. Learning to delegate can empower employees and allow decisions to be made closer to the customer," said Macomber.

Successful delegation requires five components according to Macomber.

First, a business owner must realize that delegation requires time to plan, train and monitor. "As the business owner, you'll need to identify the right tasks, the right people, and the timeline for the process," said Macomber.

Second, the tasks to delegate need to be selected. "Ask yourself whether this will empower an employee and provide a skill-building opportunity. Consider whether it is a recurring task, where the employee will build ability through repetition," said Macomber.

Third, select the right employee for the task. Likely candidates must have the ability to work and think independently. "You, as the business owner, will want to be sure the employee understands the potential impact of their decisions on profitability, strategy, employees, and customers,' said Macomber.

Fourth, the business owner must prepare themselves to tolerate some risk. "You'll need to give guidelines, set expectations for updates, and review the process and progress frequently. Over time you must monitor less frequently," said Macomber.

Fifth, the entrepreneur must be self-aware. When a business begins, owners tend to do it all and become a 'jack of all trades and master of none." Macomber says successful delegation requires tolerance for risk and mistakes as employees learn and practice new skills.

"When you recognize that other people in your business are able to handle more responsibility, you're on your way to heightened success and accomplishments. The time you save can be more effectively used in driving new business opportunities," said Macomber.

For more information, Macomber can be reached at the MU Small Business and Technology Development Center in Barton County by telephone at 417-682-3579.

Date: 9/10/2012

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