It can be difficult for some entrepreneurs to delegate functions to others – who but themselves knows how to fulfill these responsibilities correctly. However, as I have outlined in my books, The Entrepreneurial Journey, The Business Builder and The 8 Best Practices of High-Performing Salespeople, learning to delegate to people and technology can be one of the most challenging, but rewarding, tasks you achieve as a manager and entrepreneur.
When the delegation is over
I encourage business owners I work with to invest in their organizations, hiring talented people and building a technological infrastructure that enables those team members to work to their fullest capacity. But what happens when you have built a collage of systems for client relationship management, enterprise resource management, accounting and more? Do you have solutions that sometimes seem at odds with each other, or appear to store much of the same information?
Legacy systems that lack integration is a common problem for older businesses that decided to delegate to technology in phases. Indeed, a study from The SEI Advisor Network found that many advisors may feel stymied by the lack of integration between technologies. Out of 250 responding advisors, 86 percent said there were “aspects of their firms handled manually that could be done more simply through better technology use.”
I suspect that this is not a problem unique to the world of financial advisors.
Regardless of your industry, if you have a number of different software platforms and solutions from different vendors, talk to your employees and learn what they think works and what does not. Inquire about the manual processes they still must perform on a daily basis, and determine whether it is due to lack of technological integration. Your employees might be aware of new technologies that could help. Fifteen years ago, a spreadsheet program may have been adequate for your company’s needs. Today, having to manually enter data presents the risk of error and also consumes vast amounts of time that could be better spent on higher-level tasks. For example, could you be leveraging technology to increase communications with clients and prospects?
Steve Zimmerman, president of VF Investment Services Corporation, said it best in the SEI survey: “Most advisors will admit they’re not techies, but the business benefits of technology are impossible to ignore.” Are you ignoring technology improvements that could help your business achieve its growth targets this year?