Build A Business That Can Run Without You, Even If You Don’t Know How
Fellow business owners -- I have a question for you:
Do you work for your business, or does your business work for you? Are you an owner or an operator? Do you have a job or are your truly running a business? There are a lot of ways to ask the same question, but to put it simply, are you working in your business or on your business?
If you aren’t sure, then ask yourself the following question. What would happen if I stepped away from my business for a month, with little to no involvement? Would your business still thrive, would it merely survive, or would it suffer a catastrophic failure?
I bring this up because I know how challenging it is to remove yourself from the day-to-day operations of your business while still ensuring it runs successfully.
You might be wondering why the need to remove yourself from your business. After all, you’ve created your brand and company from scratch through non-stop tireless hard work, often for wages you’d never consider if you were doing this for someone else, and you’ve poured your heart and soul into it. Part of the reward is being identified with your business, and perhaps you love managing daily operations. So why would you want to remove yourself?
Well, maybe you don’t. Maybe you enjoy the daily grind of keeping the ship afloat and micromanaging all aspects of your business. But if you want to turn it into something that supports a lifestyle of true freedom and satisfaction, then keep reading because that’s exactly what I’m going to explain in this blog post.
Identify Your True Goals
So, the first step to making your business work for you is to identify your true goals.
After various business books, I made a very conscious decision that I was going to adapt and create my own version of a scaled and automated business and make it so my current business, and all future businesses, would support the life I desired. During the process of uncovering my true goals, I learned that I am far more creative and productive when I have fun-time with a renewed focus on my business when I return to work.
Everyone who knows me says that I work nonstop. However, what they don’t know is how much time I am working in the typical sense, versus working in my actual mode of being creatively engaged in activities that free my mind from the day to day grind of life. This realization alone helped me commit to an outward-looking “life of leisure” and create room and space for me to grow.
By prioritizing personal growth, along with business revenue, I have created a life framework that supports my desire to have a business that I work on, instead of in.
This process has spawned many great ideas and encouraged me to seek personal growth rather than external validation, which has been extremely rewarding.
Become Redundant and Replaceable
Can an entrepreneur outsource many if not all of their day to day tasks?
As I mentioned earlier, many businesses rely heavily on the owner for daily operations. Maybe clients are used to speaking directly to the owner for price quotes, or employees seek answers from the owner instead of being empowered to solve problems themselves.
In order for your business to work for you, you need to make yourself redundant and replaceable. This sounds odd and does not feed ones ego, but you have to learn how to create a business that is not about you, the owner.
Many businesses have all sorts of infrastructure and redundancies and disaster recovery plans in place. Large corporations work hard to make each position redundant and replaceable to mitigate what’s known as “Key Man Risk”.
Banks all over the world, force an extended two-week consecutive vacation on key personnel to ensure there is no fraud or “hidden tickets” or problems that any one individual can cause to the system. However, who is the backup in a small business venture? How instrumental is the owner to the daily operating machine?
The more you can train and empower your team to perform the business’ essential daily functions without micromanagement, the closer you’ll get to being able to enjoy the lifestyle you desire.
The first book that showed me how to break away from the day to day grind was Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth, which I highly recommend.
Take Advantage of Tech Tools
I have basically committed myself to only doing things:
- I want to do; and
- I am uniquely qualified to do
Those two things require me to:
Create repeatable and scalable support infrastructure to run the daily operations of my business.
How am I doing all of this?
First and foremost, I have had the great fortune to meet and lead some amazing teammates, and I could never have such an amazing business and life without them. So, a huge shout out to my team.
Second, I’ve embraced innovation and current technology to create a decentralized collaborative structure. I have put to rest more traditional work norms such as a typical hierarchal structure, geography, headquarters, etc.
We have two offices and work flows back and forth between the two offices. We don’t have work silos, but a team that works together to take the best care of our clients’ needs.
We work using tools like Practice Panther, Drobbox, and other technology to collaborate and create the best product possible.
In addition, we are starting a new business consulting company to help other business owners create small-town businesses that allow the owners to gain their freedom.
How Well Does This Structure Work?
I am testing our own system and have been in the office for an average of two weeks a month, for the past six months. I will also be taking a month off at the end of April, so I can discover exactly how my team will operate under this new, longer period of absence. They have all performed wonderfully to date, so I have no reason to believe that anything will change. I will update everyone about my travels and our business during my travels abroad.