Researchers at Gallup made a surprising discovery when they studied the characteristics of CEOs on the Inc. 500 list. One of the traits that correlated best with growth and increased revenue was the ability to delegate.
“Those with high Delegator talent posted an average three-year growth rate of 1,751% — 112 percentage points greater than those CEOs with limited or low Delegator talent,” the report reads. “CEOs with high Delegator talent also generated 33% greater revenue in 2013 than those with low or limited levels of the talent: $8 million versus $6 million, respectively.”
With results like these, it’s easy to see why every entrepreneur should delegate. Yet, many still struggle to let go. In my experience, embracing and executing this approach is easier than reluctant executives may fear.
The benefits of delegating
The simple reason delegating is so effective is that it frees executives from necessary (albeit routine) tasks. With more time and energy at their disposal, they can direct their attention with greater intentionality and engage in higher-order thinking.
Brainstorming, perceiving new opportunities, innovating, problem-solving, strategic planning, and decision-making are all key aspects of the entrepreneur’s role requiring focus and concentration. Without dedicated time blocked off specifically to do these kinds of tasks, executives often don’t get them done.
Still, growing a business requires not just time spent on these sorts of activities, but also time spent in the right frame of mind — a creative, spacious, open mind that can perceive clearly and act with discernment. In other words, good mental health is necessary to achieve peak performance.
According to a Qualtrics report, those who struggle with mental health spend 23% more effort on creative tasks than those who do not. People with good mental health can engage in creative and innovative thinking quicker and easier than those without it. Not only that, but their health in general improves.
When business leaders are overwhelmed and overburdened, the pressure of their work clouds their minds. Even when they do claw blocks of free time out of their too-busy schedules, they aren’t in the position to take advantage of them. Instead, they will spend too much of this precious time just getting into the right frame of mind to tackle their challenges. Mental adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to pivot are all compromised by trying to do too much oneself.
On the other hand, delegating clears work from business leaders’ desks and lifts a weight from their shoulders, allowing them to become nimble and focus on the activities that drive their businesses to the next level. No wonder studies show that delegators are more successful than their counterparts.
Tasks that can be delegated
There are things no business leader should delegate — for instance, understanding how to scale your company is best left in your own hands. The same goes for spotting and taking advantage of new opportunities.
However, business leaders can delegate a wide range of work to virtual assistants. No executive should waste time on traditionally secretarial tasks like scheduling, answering phone calls, and engaging in other quotidian communications. Virtual assistants can also write memos, draft executive summaries, prepare briefings in advance of meetings, and approach clients about paying their bills.
Nevertheless, executives often underestimate the types of work that can be delegated to virtual assistants — many of whom have advanced training that qualifies them to complete more advanced tasks. For instance, some specialize in accounting or finance, which enables them to help with your number-crunching. Others are passionate about writing, photography, marketing, or social media, making them a natural fit to create or distribute content for your business. Those who love talking to other people are ideal for customer-service roles. At Stafi, we even provide virtual assistants who work as sales associates, and legal assistants or paralegals who help Law Firm owners focus on higher-level tasks that only a lawyer in the States can do.
Harmonizing work and home
Virtual assistants can also help you balance work with your personal life. In addition to scheduling your time while on the clock, they can protect your time off of it. With the help of a virtual assistant, you’ll always be available for your loved ones when they need your presence most, whether for Little League games, soccer matches, school plays, or date night with your spouse.
Assistants can also help handle your finances, making sure that your household bills — like piano or dance lessons — get paid on time, every time. If you’ve ever been caught by surprise with the need to bake something for a school fundraiser the next day, then you need a virtual assistant who can help you keep track of upcoming obligations and position you to succeed.
By delegating items on your to-do list to a virtual assistant, you’ll no longer have to do it all, which means you can enjoy having it all.
Delegate the hiring process
Part of the reason it may be hard for some entrepreneurs to delegate is that they have trouble finding the right people to delegate to. Hiring someone new presents a huge new undertaking, as there’s not only writing the job description, but also listing it on websites and going through the hundreds of resumes that stream in. Vetting the candidates can seem like an endless chore, much less putting the finalists through several rounds of interviews.
When the idea is to delegate to get rid of work, finding and hiring the right person can seem counterproductive, since it adds even more work. But there’s an answer to this dilemma: finding and hiring the right person can also be delegated.
At Stafi, we interview over 2,000 people a month in order to find, hire, and even train assistants so that they are ready to alleviate executives’ burdens from the beginning. We handle the entire process so that you don’t have to, from recruiting candidates to calling their references and evaluating their skills. What’s more, if you aren’t happy with your virtual assistant for any reason, the Stafi team will intervene to understand the situation, find a great replacement, and have the previous VA train and create manuals for the new one. That way, you don’t have to worry about the swapping — we ensure your work gets done without delay.
Delegate to launch into success
With a service like Stafi, business leaders can separate themselves from a large number of tasks without taking on the additional burdens of the hiring process. The benefits are immediate — work and worries lift away instantly. As a result, executives can turn their attention to the important matters that actually deserve it, like launching their business to whole new levels of success. Our clients say we give them back at least 2 hours a day to do things they weren’t able before.
Raquel Gomes is the Founder and CEO of Stafi, a virtual assistant company that finds and places highly-qualified, highly-educated offshore staff that can complete all the tasks that keep business owners from their most valuable work. Originally from the south of Brazil, she is a licensed psychologist with an MBA in International Business. But just as important as being a successful businesswoman, she is also a loving wife and mother. She is passionate about helping business owners, and especially women entrepreneurs, understand that they can, in fact, have it all with the help of virtual assistants.