For many small businesses, payroll is one of the largest expenses. Understandably, when cash flow is short, many owners choose to avoid adding payroll and instead handle a lot of the work themselves. Seems like a great way to save on payroll and make sure that the work is getting done correctly.

However, there are many instances where the opposite is what happens. The business term used is opportunity costs. Opportunity costs are the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. While this is certainly true of financial expenditures (how much was lost by spending money on a Direct Mail campaign instead of a Radio advertisement?), it is also true of time.

We are all limited by the clock. The one resource which is identical for all of us is 24 hours in a day. As the business owner, you are, hopefully, one of the most valuable resources involved with your business. You think about growth, you find partnerships, you make marketing decisions, you are THE key player involved in your business. If you are using up some of your 24 hours doing the work of a part-time employee, what is the opportunity cost? What opportunities to grow your business are being missed because you are busy doing the work of a much more junior employee?

A strong guiding principle for delegation goes like this: If the work can be done by a less expensive employee, then it should. If you can keep this rule in mind, then you'll keep your best employees (including yourself) focused on the most important aspects of growing your business and you can train other to handle the more repetitive work.