5 Ways to Get Your Business to Run Without You

Sometimes it’s hard to know which things to focus on to improve your business. Most people naturally lean towards increasing their sales. Top line revenue is great, and profit is awesome. Both admirable goals to work on.

Have you thought about making your goal to get your business to run, and thrive, without you? Most of us started a business to have freedom, and be our own boss. Somewhere along the way, your business may have become dependent upon you. Now taking those last minute out of town trips are really difficult.

A business not dependent on its owner is the ultimate asset. You have complete control over your time, choose what you want to get involved. Take those vacations or coach all your kids sports teams you want. Another benefit is that if you were to decide to sell, a business that runs without its owner is a lot more attractive to buyers, and sells for a lot more!

Here are five ways to set up your business so that it can succeed without you:

1. Give Them a Stake in The Outcome: Jack Stack, the author of The Great Game of Business (Affiliate Link) and A Stake in The Outcome (Affiliate Link) wrote the book on creating an ownership culture inside your company: you are transparent about your financial results, and you allow employees to participate in your financial success. This results in employees who act like owners when you’re not around. If you are wondering how you can let them share in the businesses success,  we have some great strategies – use the contact form to reach out!

2. Get Them to Walk in Your Shoes: Maybe you’re not quite comfortable opening the books to your employees, consider a simple management technique where you respond to staff questions with a similar answer, “If you owned the company (or product/service line), what would you do?” This builds the habit of getting them to think like an owner. Pretty soon, employees are able to solve their own problems. This is also hugely beneficial to the employees career. As they start to take on more responsibility and think like an owner, they become a lot more valuable.

3. Vet Your Offerings: Some products and services require your personal involvement in either making, delivering, or selling them. As you try to scale, these will be your bottlenecks. The first step is to stack rank your products and services by your required involvement in the sale or delivery. Then you have three options. Create a process simple enough for your team to deliver without you, hire someone with the skill set that can deliver it, or stop selling it. Depending on how many products or services you have, repeat quarterly or annually.

4. Create Automatic Customers: Are you the company’s best salesperson? If so, you’ll need to fire yourself as your company’s rainmaker in order to get it to run without you. One obvious solution is to hire a new sales person. If you aren’t ready to let the reigns go just yet, you can also create a recurring revenue business model where customers buy from you automatically. Consider creating a service contract with your customers that offers to fulfill one of their ongoing needs on a regular basis.

5. Write an Instruction Manual for Your Business: Finally, make sure your company comes with instructions included. Write an employee manual or what’s known as a Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Basically, you start to document each employees job. Create a process for how they deliver the different aspects of their work. That could be a step by step guide for how to deliver a product (so that you don’t have to be involved in the process). Then it becomes easier to replace that person when they move on to a new role.

You-proofing your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a valuable company and have a life. Your business will be free to scale up because it is no longer dependent on you, its bottleneck. Best of all, it will be worth a lot more to a buyer whenever you are ready to sell.