If you consider yourself a high-functioning multitasker, you might want to rethink your approach to how you run your small business. Studies in psychology have revealed that what many of us refer to as multitasking is simply “task-switching” in disguise, and it’s neither effective nor efficient where business performance is concerned.
The Inefficiencies of Multitasking
The fact is that when you shift your focus back and forth between tasks, there’s a lag time during which your brain must readjust as it makes the switch from one mental activity to another. Not only does this serial tasking lower productivity by up to 40 percent, entrepreneurs and others who frequently engage in task-switching actually end up:
- Making more mistakes
- Remembering fewer details
- Taking longer to complete the wide variety of duties where mental focus is required
Since the brain can’t effectively be in two places at once, experts suggest that business owners are far more likely to improve their productivity and financial achievements by engaging in “singletasking”, or focusing their considerable energies on their main area of expertise. For this reason, one of the key elements in business success at any level is delegation.
Why You Should Learn to Delegate
It’s common for the small business owner caught up in the frenzy of daily interactions to forget just how valuable their time is. Instead of concentrating on meeting the needs of their clientele, or drumming up new business, busy entrepreneurs tend to get distracted and misuse their time by engaging in tasks that could, and should, be delegated to somebody else.
When a business owner assigns multiple professional roles to their in-house staff, or worse, adopts the wearing of too many hats themselves, it can lead to a number of negative outcomes, including:
- A lack of investment in long-term strategizing
- An undermining of the company's overall financial health and performance
Even the most energetic entrepreneur is inevitably going to reach the point where they can no longer do everything themselves, especially if their business is growing. So the next time you find yourself trying to micromanage every detail of your expanding enterprise, remember that many analysts proclaim a lack of delegation to be particularly detrimental where the small business is concerned.
The Upside of Outsourcing
Delegation isn’t just about offloading certain tasks to somebody else; its success hinges on assigning those tasks to somebody who can be counted on to perform them competently and professionally. Outsourcing isn’t always the right choice for every company in every situation, but it does usually make good sense in such areas as business accounting services, web and telemarketing, or specialized IT and administrative projects.
While not every organization is going to need to hire an offshore manufacturer or call center, most would benefit from delegating such tasks as their small business bookkeeping to a local outside contractor. As a business owner or manager, you’ll find that the advantages of outsourcing certain types of operations are well-documented, and include:
- Lower costs
- Higher efficiency
- Fewer mistakes
- Guaranteed work
Lowering costs through the reduction of employee and workspace overhead means more money in your pocket at the end of the year. Outsourcing often leads to cost savings in such areas as payroll taxes, staff benefits, insurance, and sick time, as well as in the reduced need for office space, computers and software.
You’ll save valuable time when you spend less of it finding, hiring, training, managing, and retaining in-house staff. When you let an outside contractor deal with these ongoing workplace relations, it frees you up to focus your time and energy on what you do best.
Costly errors are far less likely to occur when you employ the services of an expert. Rather than trying, and failing, to multitask in areas that fall outside your area of expertise, you’ll see better results and experience fewer headaches, when you let a professional help you out.
Hiring a reliable and proven outside expert will allow you to feel more confident that the work you assign is going to be completed as, and when, it’s needed. Specialized service providers, such as outsourced bookkeepers, have a lot more at stake than many employees do when it comes to living up to the expectations of their commercial agreements. After all, professional contractors have just as much invested in running their businesses successfully, as you do.