As shopkeepers, it can be challenging to start hiring help—especially when we’re used to doing everything ourselves. Even when we begin to hire, it can still be hard to give up control of all the tasks we’re used to doing on our own.
Growing your store, though, happens when you’re able to do something most of us resist: delegate.
To delegate is to assign responsibility and authority to someone else in order to complete the task at hand. You still retain the overall responsibility for the task’s success, but you let someone else execute the task.
Here are six reasons why most shopkeepers resist delegating and why you should embrace it instead.
You’re SO busy doing ALL the things that you can’t even imagine squeezing in the time to hire, train, or delegate.
This is related to the classic, “It’s just easier if I do it.” Yes, in that immediate moment, it might be easier. But not in the long run! There comes a point where you can’t possibly do everything in every moment—you need to delegate now to mitigate some of that overwhelm.
#2. Lack of Confidence
Some shopkeepers believe they don’t have the skills or know-how to hand off tasks or manage others properly.
The truth is, every single aspect of being a store owner—including delegation!—is a learned skill. You’ve learned how to do all sorts of things since opening your store. You can definitely learn how to delegate, too.
#3. Lack of Systems
Since you don’t have a system in place, everything is stored in your head. When nothing is documented, it’s challenging to delegate to another person, especially since they can’t read your mind.
#4. Fear of Losing Control
Oh, you know who you are! You have to hold on to every bit of your business because it’s YOUR baby, and no one is going to treat your baby as well as you do.
#5. Superiority Syndrome
This shopkeeper thinks, “no one can do it better than me, so why bother?”
Honestly, I bet you someone can! But if you don’t let it go, you’ll never know.
On the flip side, this isn’t a competition. And maybe no one will do it better, but what’s a good scenario? Good is, it’s off your plate. The person you delegate the task to can graduate to better and best. We don’t always start at “BEST,” so don’t expect others to start there.
#6. Believing the Time Myth
This is when you say, “it’s just faster if I do it.”
The ROI (Return on Investment) of delegating doesn’t come from that ONE time, though! Yes, in that one instance, you would do it faster. But when you think about the 100-200 times that person will handle the task for you while you focus on higher-level tasks, you’re saving much more time by delegating.
Let’s squash the toddler brain who wants immediate satisfaction and lean into our adult brains who see the big picture—and more importantly, the long-term ROI. Yes, you might have to train and even re-instruct a few times. But keep the long game in mind: it’ll be worth it to have that pesky task off your to-do list.
Delegating Isn’t Just for Your Store
Often, delegating ALSO means asking others in your personal life to do and help with things.
Dishes at home got you frustrated? Running around like a chicken with your head cut off shuffling kids to and from functions while trying to rush back to your store? Laundry piling up? House a disaster or dirty?
Hire or ask for help.
Don’t underestimate the value of asking others in your home to help more, hiring others, or paying for services to help with your daily life.
A Personal Example of Delegating
I know that delegating isn’t easy for most people. But I’ve grown to love delegating because I see the value. Delegating opens up the space in my brain and on my calendar to work on my “Zone of Genius” areas.
The reality is, your business won’t grow if you’re busy wearing 100 hats and doing all the little tasks. Instead, you need to focus on the tasks that propel your business forward.
You have to work through all of the above mindset blocks and set up the systems.
My own retail business, the store I co-own with my sister, is growing. This means way more incoming inventory than ever. In years past, I managed this on my own.
But this year, the inventory started to pile up, and I became frustrated. I also became frustrated with the work, the task of data entry, label printing, tagging. Why? Because I’m growing as a shopkeeper! I see where MY zone of genius is—and it’s in marketing and managing, not inventory.
It was time to let inventory go. But, just like many of you, I was resisting. It wasn’t so much the mindset piece. I was overwhelmed because order after order was piling up….and I didn’t have a system in place.
So recently, I had to just push PAUSE. I had to ignore the dozens of orders around me, and I had to sit down and do the work—the systems work.
Inside of the Shopkeepers Lab, I teach a live lesson every month. I taught an “inventory basics” class in March 2020, where I shared a worksheet and talked through each field of a typical inventory system.
To help me delegate inventory management, I took that worksheet and tweaked it a bit. I added some information for each field so my nephew, our part-time assistant, could log in to our system and start entering inventory.
I left the worksheets on the table with some additional instructions. This took me maybe 2 hours at the most, and the next day, he started hammering out inventory!
Let me tell you, it was glorious.
I wasn’t there. I didn’t train him in person. I simply created a system to teach him, and the system walked him through how to enter one item at a time. He did text me with some questions, but those were easy-peasy.
I set up his training so the listings would be inactive until I reviewed them. Were there some errors? Yep. Were there some things I forgot to mention? Yep. But is it all easy to add to the training? Yep.
Of course, now I wish I had done this sooner!
Push Through the Discomfort and Delegate!
Whether it’s mindset, systems, or something else, I’ve realized that if I want to continue to grow my own retail business, I have to push through the discomfort, and I have to delegate.
My goal is to grow again in 2022. Now, I know this can happen because INVENTORY will be off my plate! I have big plans for all that open space in my brain and for the time this opens up while I’m at my store. Watch out 2022!
If you want to continue growing your business, you need to delegate. I hope this inspires you to go for it!
- [02:38] 6 reasons why shopkeepers resist delegation
- [07:04] Delegating isn’t just for your store
- [11:02] A personal example of delegating
- [16:08] Push through the discomfort and delegate!