Learn to Delegate: Which Tasks Should You Relinquish Control Over?

When you run your own wedding business, it can be a challenge to keep track of all of your clients and their individual needs. No matter how organized you are, no matter what kind of notes you keep, something is bound to fall through the cracks sooner or later. When that moment comes, you will realize that you simply cannot do it all by yourself — you need help.

checklist-150938_1280Why Delegation Is Important

Would you label yourself a control freak? No? What about your friends and staff members — they might have a different opinion. (Sorry – just using my years of observation to call you out! HA! ;) )

Small business owners have a tendency to try to control every aspect of their businesses. You’ve built your business from the ground up, after all, and you’d hate to see it flounder in the hands of another. The key to success for some of the most lucrative wedding businesses out there, however, is delegation — creating a division of labor and assigning the right people to the job.

Rather than putting an average level of effort into all aspects of your wedding business by yourself, why not delegate a few things so that every task gets the attention and level of expertise that it deserves? You still need to provide some oversight and guidance, of course, but letting someone else handle the details will take a great deal of stress off your plate, and it will yield better results.

5 Steps for Learning to Delegate

There is a right way and a wrong way to implement delegation in your wedding business. You cannot simply make a list of tasks to be completed then hand them out willy-nilly. You need to think carefully about which tasks you should keep for yourself and then draw from your pool of staff members to find the right person for the rest of the jobs to be completed. Follow the steps below to determine which tasks you should delegate and which you should keep for yourself:

  1. Make a list of all the tasks that need to be done — this list could apply to a certain client’s wedding, or it could apply to your business as a whole.
  2. Review the list and circle the tasks that you do not enjoy doing — everyone has different gifts and different fields of expertise, so if you do not enjoy keeping track of your business’ finances but one of your staff members has a history in accounting, hand it over! (Or – outsource this to a bookkeeper. You can delegate to people OUTSIDE of your business.)
  3. Start small by choosing three tasks from the list to delegate — select three tasks that are important to get done and that you do not mind handing over to someone else. (That’s it! THREE!)
  4. Assign these tasks to the people you think are best qualified to complete them — it also helps if those people enjoy the type of work required for the task.
  5. Take a deep breath and let it go — once you’ve assigned your tasks to the right people, you need to step back and let them work. Make sure you’ve trained them adequately, make yourself available for questions, and check in now and then for progress reports, but do not micromanage.

Now that you have a good idea what it means to delegate and how to go about choosing the right people for the job, you can take some time to think about which tasks you should relinquish control over for your own business. Do you have a staff member who is gifted with website design or maybe someone who loves to speak with clients over the phone? Perhaps one of your staff is eager to take on more responsibility in the company. The options for delegation are endless — it all depends on what tasks you enjoy doing, those you do not, and what kind of skills and expertise your staff members have.

Remember, it is more important to have the right person assigned to the job at hand than to try to handle everything yourself. That is the best way to grow your business.

How have you managed delegation? Share your success tips in a comment below.

Creating Cohesive Relationships with Your Coworkers

Today’s guest post is written by Amy Green & Melanie Marconi of ‘Where Will They Stay?. These ladies have some wonderful tips for how to keep things fun, supportive, and positive amongst team-members in your business.

Taking a company to the next level requires careful planning, informed decision-making, smart growth – and the ability to keep peace even under the extreme pressure of pursuing success. At our company, there are four partners, and a growing number of employees. Even after 10 years in business, creating cohesive relationships in the office is still a daily challenge. Of course, these relationships are further taxed by the necessity of conducting off-site client meetings, constant travel, and weekly hotel site visits. If it all sounds overwhelming, never fear. We have developed several strategies to help you create cohesive relationships in your office.

Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/aroberts/

Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/aroberts/

Weekly Staff Meetings

In the past, we used to cancel weekly staff and partner meetings when one or more of us were out of the office. However, a few years ago, we implemented a policy where weekly meetings happen no matter what. Hopefully, all of us can either be there in person, or call-in, but even when someone is absent, we don’t cancel the weekly check-ins, which are invaluable to keeping us moving forward.

Respect the Time of Others

Another way to endear yourself to your coworkers is to respect their time. In a burgeoning powerhouse of a company, no one can afford to waste time, or lose precious minutes to disorganization or off-task behavior. Start by ensuring that each of your scheduled meetings has a recognized purpose, then set agendas that are accurate when they are released. Announce your meetings in advance, be clear about your expectations, and use your meeting time very wisely. Everyone will leave your meetings feeling more accomplished and ready to work together to make a true difference.

Out of the Office Retreats

Nothing is better for bonding than taking a day or two for an internal retreat. Retreats allow employees time to bond away from the office, and learn more about each other as individuals, and as future leaders. If budgets are limited, do a 1-day staycation –inspired meeting, where a full day is spent off-site together brainstorming big picture planning. Check local hotels, country clubs, or even park recreation centers for some off-site meeting room inspiration. Take advantage of the time together to learn what makes each person tick.

Third Party Advisors  

When conflicts inevitably arise, or when the path forward isn’t clear, we have a trusted business coach to advise us. Small business coaches are trained to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to help move a group forward despite the odds. They may act, informally, as mediators when two partners argue, or they may encourage one to talk in order to resolve conflict.

You will find that creating cohesion among your coworkers is a rewarding way to let them know that you appreciate them, and that they are quite valuable. It also results in a harmonious work environment that requires very little care, but allows for so many milestones to be achieved. Make conscientious efforts to discover what makes each of your coworkers tick. This will pay off in love and support many times over.

AmyGreen&MelanieMarconiAmy Green and Melanie Marconi are the founders of BDI Events, a full-service event planning company based in Los Angeles, with offices in Portland. They recently launched Where Will They Stay?, a free service which offers custom room block procurement for event planners and event venues.

Industry Gossip – How to Deal with “Meanies”

Let’s talk about gossip.

UGH. I’m kinda bummed about having this conversation with you. No one likes gossip… and yet it happens in most markets in our industry. So, let’s just get it out there. Gossip sucks.

GossipSo – what do we do when you are the object of other people’s gossip? (Or – you think you are. You’re not quite sure… but it seems like people say bad things about you.) Maybe it’s because you’re new. Maybe it’s because you’re really good at what you do and people are envious. Maybe it’s because you do things different. Whatever the reason, it sure does SUCK to be at the other end of gossip.

I have 3 pieces of advice if you find yourself in this situation. (By the way, it’s the SAME advice I give my 7 year old when dealing with playground negotiations… the little girl that I want to be a strong confident person in this world faces the same challenges you face.)

Life is hard. But, we’ve got to plow through, instead of being victims of circumstances.

3 Pieces of Advice for Dealing with “Meanies”:

1.) Not everyone will like you.

OK – let’s be honest… do you like everyone you meet? I don’t. I’m just being honest here. I’m not a mean person. But, I don’t love everyone. I’m nice and respectful to EVERYONE. But not everyone is my friend. And, that’s a good thing. Friends are special to me.

If you look into your heart… you probably don’t like every single person you meet.

So – why do you expect everyone to like you? I know that’s a weird thing to say. We ALL want to be liked. BUT – really – why? It’s OK to not be liked. What matters is that the people that we like, like us back. More important: it’s important that the people we lovelove us back. Those people are usually outside of our work bubble. They are our family and friends.

So – who cares? A few people don’t like you. You’re spending too much time worrying about those who don’t like you. The fun in life is thinking about the people who DO like you – and that you like back.

2.) If it’s not true, then who cares.

If gossip and rumors are circulating… and what people are saying is untrue, then… who cares? Am I right or am I right? If it’s a lie, then why are we giving so much attention to it? Why does it matter? (I know – this is so much harder to live by.) I know that we worry about how affects our overall image. We don’t want those rumors to be out there because it tarnishes our reputation. That is REALLY HARD. But, it’s REALLY REALLY important to ignore it and move on. Otherwise, it will drain you, it will impact you… and your business will suffer on account of this consuming so much of your energy.

3.) You choose how you feel about something.

You can’t control what someone thinks or says about you. You CAN control how you react. You CAN control how you feel. How will you choose to feel about these things? You can choose misery. Or, you can choose to focus on something else. You can DECIDE to NOT let it get to you. That is a choice. No one can MAKE you feel anything that you don’t want to feel. YOU CHOOSE how you feel.

(They have to go to bed at night with an unhealthy conscience, by the way. NOT YOU.)

People…

I know this seems like oversimplified solutions to something that can be very painful. I really don’t want to downplay what you might go through when people are mean in your segment of the market or in your city/town. BUT – I also want you to see beyond it. This is how you start to grow, how you become more confident… how you focus on the bigger and better things.

What do you think? What is your advice for people who have to deal with negative gossip, or mean people?

Hire the Right Person for the Right Job

You hired Sally to do invitation assembly but you’re disappointed that she doesn’t answer the phone.

You hired Jenny to be your office manager but you think that she’s maybe made a lot of mistakes in your Quickbooks.

You hired John to be your photo editor but he hasn’t written a blog post in weeks.

Does this sound familiar?

I see this challenge every day… Overtired and overworked business owners who want more from their employees.

Creative Commons: flicker (Yoel Ben-Avraham)

Creative Commons: flicker (Yoel Ben-Avraham)

But here’s the rub…
No one is good at everything. And you have to accept that everyone has limitations to their talents. (You aren’t good at everything are you?)

So that employee who is so very artistic and creative and detailed… Have her focus on assembling wedding invites. She isn’t your superstar sales person. That’s ok!

The office manager who ultimately doesn’t know accounting probably shouldn’t be managing your books. (Unless of course you invest in some Quickbooks classes for them.) [This thought totally stresses me out. I don’t know how many wedding pros’ accounting I’ve looked at in recent years with huge errors because this job was handed to the wrong person.]

Make sure you have the RIGHT person in the RIGHT position. Focus on making the most of that person’s strengths. (And if that means you have two 10hour/week employees instead of one 20hour/week employee… in an effort to have everyone in the right role, then so be it.) You’ll be happy with their results and they’ll be happier in their job.

What do you think about this? What’s been your experience? Share in a comment below.

Here’s another post on why you should avoid hiring a ‘catch-all’ employee.

Need more help with hiring and training? Check out The People Plan.

 

6 Signs Your Freelancer is an Employee NOT a Contractor

The IRS rules for hiring independent contractor are pretty clear: the contractor must have complete independence from the company hiring them to do the work. However, in the wedding industry, we tend to see a lot of people not full understand what this ‘independence’ thing means.

14066870366_912293e866_zHere are 6 signs that your freelancers should be classified as an employee (NOT a 1099 independent contractor):

  1. You don’t have a contract with them.
    You must have a contract with your contractor. Otherwise, you won’t be able to prove that they were hired to do a specific job for you. (Law for Creatives* offers professional templates for working with independent contractors.)
  2. You have them fill out timesheets.
    An independent contractor should be controlling their prices and their income. Therefore, they should be invoicing YOU. (You are an independent contractor to your brides/grooms. You wouldn’t have them deciding when to pay you and how much.)
  3. You have an open-ended and/or long-term agreement with them for work.
    A company hiring an independent contractor is hiring that person for a specific job or project. That job, as defined by the contract, has a finite end date. Having contractors for extended periods of time shows that you are reliant on that person to accomplish operations withIN your business. This reliance is contrary to the independence requirement of classifying contractors.
  4. They have a company email address for YOUR company.
    Contractors should NOT have an email address with your business. If they are independent, they will operate under their own email address, which you will have no control over.
  5. You have them follow company protocol very closely.
    If you share your employee handbook with them and expect them to follow it, then they are employees, not contractors. You can hire a contractor to embrace/mirror your company values. BUT, you cannot dictate to them how they will work.
  6. You prohibit them from working for a competitor.
    Contractors can and should have a multitude of clients for which they do work. (You would never tell a graphic designer that they cannot design a website for your competitor.) If you prohibit them from working for a competitor, then they should be classified as employees.

Contractors are independent from your company. It’s even better, in the eyes of the IRS, if they have their own business. Thinking of contractors as separate businesses will help you define your relationship with them.

For example: Contractor Inc. has been hired to do A, B, C for your company from June through September. They will invoice you monthly. You have a contract that specifies the terms of the work they have agreed to do for your business.

Beware: the IRS may audit your business. If they decide that you have misclassified a worker as an independent contractor, then you could have penalties and employee back taxes due.

Need more help with contractors and employees? Check out The People Plan.