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Don’t micromanage, let freelancers use creativity

Top advisors focus on two key areas — business development and relationship building.

To find the necessary time, you can apply the Four Ds to every task: Drop it, Defer it, Delegate it, or Do it.

That third D – delegate – is particularly important. So here are three tips from Financial Planning columnist John J. Bowen Jr. for successful delegating.

1. Identify your needs: Be clear on your objectives, whether it’s lower costs, improved performance or enhanced service. Then determine the specific skills you’ll need. Most people specialize, so don’t expect to find a broad range of skills in one person.

2. Select a contractor: Advisors who have moved toward a virtual office with networks of independent contractors can be a great source of referrals. Expertise is key, but chemistry is important too, so consider how the freelancer will fit in with your team.

3. Make the hire. Create a clear agreement that defines the project, deadlines and deliverables. It should deal with any intellectual property issues and non-compete provisions.

Be clear about expectations but don’t micromanage. Allow freelancers to use their expertise and creativity.

Remember, effective delegation can free up time and energy, and allow you to focus on what matters most: Providing world-class client service.