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How to Delegate Duties at Your Indie Retail Business


Hana Dickman

As a small-business owner, you wear a lot of hats but you can also get to a point where you burn out. The Wall Street Journal reports this as a major problem with business owners, citing a study that says 96 percent of senior-level leaders experience burnout symptoms. However, you have an important tool for combating burnout: delegation.

Indie retail businesses often start out with one or two people, with each party equally invested in the business. As you grow, you bring in new employees who may not have the same ties to the business. But learning how to effectively delegate work to your employees can help grow the business without forcing you to work endless hours.

Management Delegation

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling you always have to be at your indie retail store when it’s open, because you’re the only person who can handle managerial duties. Over time, you may become overwhelmed or want to take time away from the store. Create a connection with an employee who you can trust as your shadow. Delegate managerial duties to this person when you need some time off or a vacation. You can relax and enjoy your success when you know your store is run the way you would personally run it.

Duty Delegation

One of the first encounters you’ll have with delegation is figuring out what job duties to assign to employees. For an indie retail business, some of these are easy decisions. Cashiers and customer-service positions require relatively quick training and no specialized skills. Depending on your products, you may also want to delegate product sourcing and creation duties to employees to help maintain inventory and discover new products in line with your brand’s image.

Administrative Delegation

Unless you hold an MBA and really love paperwork, you probably don’t relish the thought of the administrative duties that go along with running your indie retail business. You can delegate these tasks to a specific employee or outsource them to a freelancer or service on an on-demand basis. While you pay more on a per-hourly basis for outsourced duties, you only pay for the hours spent on the task. Some administrative duties that are great for outsourced delegation include IT maintenance, marketing, website administration, and accounting.