The Why, How, and When of Delegation in Your Fashion Business

delegating fashion businessdelegating fashion business

Delegation is one of those words that a lot of us ignore, especially in the beginning of our businesses, because our businesses are just us so we think, “Who would we even delegate to?”

But there comes point, often well before you think you’re ready, that delegation is absolutely necessary if your business is going to succeed. We all need help and the sooner we can get that help, the better.

Let’s think about what holds us up from delegating. Why don’t we delegate when we should?

  • You think you can’t afford to hire help
  • You have an ego; no one can do this for your business as well as you can
  • Not sure who to delegate to; how to find affordable help for your business
  • It is just easier if you do it; it would take too long to train someone
  • Not thinking enough about the future of your business
  • Not realizing how one “task” is more of a project and could ultimately be broken up into more than one task and delegated

Do you recognize yourself in any of those statements? I know I do. I resisted the idea of hiring help for at least three of the reasons listed above. But then I started to realize that I couldn’t possibly grow if I continued to try to do everything myself.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the benefits of delegating. Why is it good to delegate?

  • Obviously, it saves you time
  • Makes sure that you have the right person on the task
  • You get to learn from the person who is helping you
  • You get a second set of eyes on the task, which is always a great thing
  • You will get so much more done
  • Allows you to keep your time focused on what I should be applying them.
  • It grows your company

It’s tough to know when you should start delegating because, as independent businesses, it never really feels like there’s enough money to do so. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to hire a full time employee in order to delegate. Independent contractors and part time help are great ways to delegate without draining your bank account.  So, when should you delegate?

  • When you don’t have the time; when you find very important grow opportunities falling through the cracks because you’re focusing on the minutia
  • When you are not the expert or another person can do it better than you can
  • It is cost effective to delegate; when you’re losing money because you’re not taking advantage of opportunities
  • When a project can easily be broken down into different expertise components
  • When you don’t know what the next step are and need help figuring them out
  • When you have a system/process in place for the work your delegating

Something to keep in mind tough, is that just because you’ve delegated something, doesn’t mean that you’re no longer involved at all. This is your business and you can’t just walk away from a part of it simply because someone else is taking care of things. You stil have to be aware of what’s going on and in some cases there will still be things you will take care of. So what responsibilities do you retain after delegation?

  • Well, you are responsible for making a decision, task by task, on what your continued involvement and follow up should be
  • The involvement you may or may not continue to make yourself responsible for are:
    • External communication with partners, suppliers, etc.
    • Setting a reminder to ensure things got done (without being an annoying micro-manager, of course!)

If you’re still nervous about the idea of delegation in your fashion business, especially if you’re considering using interns who may not have much experience, here’s what to do if a delegated task doesn’t get done as expected.

  • Find out the whole story; most of the time there are good reasons
  • Formulate a plan and execute to get it done; involve the person you delegated to in formulating and executing the plan
  • Discuss with the person you delegated to about how you can have this not occur again
  • Ask what more you could have done to help; let them know you want to trust them when you delegate
  • Encourage the person to let you know early that a task won’t get done on time

Listen, I know that a lot of you reading this are quite ready yet to delegate. But a lot of you are, and those who aren’t will be soon. Of all the things that a business owner can do to foster growth with their business, delegating tasks or entire areas of the business to qualified people is one of the best.

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!