5 Ways To Get Your Business To Run Without You
*This post was updated on the 11th of February 2021.
I’ve made my fair share of mistakes during my career.
But the biggest – by far?
Not realizing my business would be far more valuable – and far less stressful to run – if it could thrive without me.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you started your business because you wanted freedom.
But somewhere along the way, you fell into The Owner’s Trap. You started believing that unless every single decision goes through you, your business will fall apart.
So you spend just about every waking moment either working on – or worrying about – your business.
The polar opposite of what you wanted…
The salt in the wound?
If your business can’t run without you then it’s not going to be worth much to investors.
So, if you want the freedom to choose the projects you want to pursue, take the vacations you want to take, and sell your business for what you think it’s worth…
Follow these five steps to get your business to run without you.
1. Write an instruction manual
You can’t remove yourself from the day-to-day running of your business until you’ve got everything out of your head and into an instruction manual.
Think of your business as a piece of flat-pack furniture. It’s just a jumble of parts without an instruction manual.
But record all the important processes in standard operating procedures and anyone can run your business – it’s as simple as following the manual.
With instructions in place, your staff has rules and guidelines to follow when you’re not around.
And when an employee leaves, you can quickly get their replacement up and running on their share of the processes.
And once you’ve removed yourself from your business’s daily operations, you can start working on your business, not in your business. And that’s where you’ll add real value as an entrepreneur.
Want to know if your employee manual is up to scratch? Take a vacation and leave your team completely in charge. If something breaks, fix it and firm up the process that failed when you get back.
Repeat this process until there are no more hiccups and then rest assured that your business can now run on its own.
2. Lighten your workload
We entrepreneurs like to be in control.
After all, it’s your business – of course, you need to be at the center of everything.
But is the best use of your time really being involved in making, delivering, and selling every one of your products and services?
Not if you want to sell your business at a premium.
Here’s how to lighten your workload and make your business less owner-dependant:
Make a list of every product and service you sell. Then grade each one on a scale of one to ten on how easy they would be to delegate to your employees to handle without your involvement.
So, the products and services you could easily hand over to your team to deliver without you get a ten. The ones it would be impossible for you to delegate get a one.
Then commit to stop selling the lowest scoring product or service on the list and delegate the highest scoring to your team.
Repeat this exercise every quarter and you’ll quickly be the owner of a business that runs without you.
Plus, you’ll get your staff more and more used to you not being in charge of every aspect of the business.
And you’ll have a much more streamlined selection of products and services, making your business a much more valuable asset.
3. Start creating automatic customers
If you’re your company’s best salesperson then you have a problem.
You’ll need to fire yourself as your company’s rainmaker if you want your business to thrive when you’re not around.
And by far the easiest way to do this is to create automatic customers by switching to a recurring revenue model.
Get the ball rolling by creating a service contract with your existing customers to fulfill one of their ongoing needs on a regular basis.
4. Give your staff a stake in the outcome
Want to transform your employees into leaders?
Give them a stake in the outcome.
Get transparent about your financial results. Lay out your organization's goals for everyone to see. And paint a clear picture of how each employee’s contributions help your business achieve those goals.
Tell competent people the rules of the game and what they need to do to win it and you don’t need to micromanage them.
But don’t expect even the most talented people to show much initiative if you keep them at arm’s length from the results they’re driving.
Of course, there’s one more piece of the puzzle:
Include your employees in your financial success.
Make what’s good for your business good for your staff.
Then give them ownership over their own area of your business and sit back as they step up and act like owners when you’re not around.
5. Get your team to walk in your shoes
Not comfortable lifting the lid on your financials to your employees?
Every time a member of staff asks a question, respond with the same answer:
“If you owned the business, what would you do?”
Encourage your employees to walk in your shoes and you’ll empower them to start thinking through their problems like an entrepreneur.
Pretty soon, your employees will be able to solve their own problems.
Removing yourself from the day-to-day running of your business is one of the best things you can ever do for your business.
It will allow you to make a life as an entrepreneur, not just a living. It’s your ticket to freeing up time to actually enjoy your life rather than spend every waking minute working on or worrying about your business.
Plus, your business will be able to scale up once you’re no longer a bottleneck to its success.
Best of all, your business is going to be worth a lot more to a buyer if you choose to sell it – and a lot more fun to run if you don’t.
Follow these five steps to get your business to run without you to win back your freedom and sell it at a premium when the time comes.
And if you want help creating an owner-independent business, find out how you can work with me today.
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