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Effective delegation can improve business

Most Virginia small business owners know that delegating effectively is one of the keys to running a successful and profitable company. However, it is often easier said than done to hand off responsibility to others and trust that the job will get done properly. Particularly for closely-held businesses that may have started as a sole proprietorship or partnership and grew from there, it can be difficult to hand the reigns over to others.

Still, small business owners are discussing this issue more and more, and the concept of passive ownership has gained traction. Passive ownership means remaining in charge of the strategy and direction of the company, but decreasing one's share of the day-to-day decisions and problem solving.

Some small business owners have even argued that the more time they spent on vacation, the higher the value of their company.

It can be difficult to step back from the daily hustle and bustle of running a business, particularly when things are good and there is a lot going on.

One way to gain some clarity and start seeing the big picture is to delegate more effectively. Rather than delegating individual tasks and then managing their execution, it is often more effective to hire managers who can oversee an entire portion of the business and manage the individual tasks. Likewise, it can be very helpful to bring in outside help for certain issues that require special expertise. For example, many attorneys who own small businesses may begin by managing legal decisions on their own in addition to their other duties. However, as the business grows and the responsibilities expand, employing an outside lawyer or law firm to manage contracts and important transactions may be a more effective use of resources.

Our Fairfax County law firm acts as general counsel for small businesses. More information is available on our website.

Source: New York Times, "Are You Involved in Every Decision at Your Company?" Josh Patrick, Sept. 27, 2012.

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