One of the hardest things for any business owner is letting go. Most find it extremely discomforting that the company they created and has been growing for decades can run without them. As a result, the growth, development and overall running of the business are fully dependent on the owner.
Businesses run this way aren’t fully independent. The perfect asset any potential company buyer would want to own is one where even without the owner everything runs smoothly. Also, in case of health issues or other problems that could keep you away the business will simply suffer.
If you didn’t know, people are interested in how a business is run and whether the owner is the glue that holds the company together and runs the show. No one will be willing to invest in a business where the departure of the owner could see its collapse.
Video: How to Make Sure Your Business Will Run Without You | Denise OBerry
So have you prepared your business to run without you? If you haven’t, here are a number of things to think about.
#1 Have a team you trust with your life
Every business owner has their own routine. The things they do and the way they manage their business really speaks a lot. While you must establish a working routine in your company, it’s highly important to collect together a core team you can trust, not just with your life, but also every facet of the business.
It means being vulnerable before the team and accepting that you could wake up one day unable to go to work and run the business the way you do. With a team of professionals and trusted individuals passionate about the company like yourself you will forever be sure your investment of many years will run smoothly whether you’re retired, in bed at home and sick or just away for a vacation.
#2 Understand personal objectives you probably don’t think about
Every business owner needs to find time and think about focusing on their true objectives. For instance, you could free yourself from the little matters of managing everything from simple processes to the mundane issues in your company and focus on becoming the person you’ve always wanted.
For instance, rather than be a business owner who focuses on money all the time, you can let others run diverse areas of the business and put your mind on travel, family and experiencing the simple pleasures of life. You might come to realize you’re way creative, driven and energetic when you add some fun and play in your life and routines.
Essentially, you need to lean to prioritize things in your life such as rethinking things with a long term influence like micromanaging your company workers and practices.
#3 Think about an effective working manual
Ask yourself, if a new manager was brought in, would they be able to find recorded policies and procedures and learn about the company without even having to consult anyone? If the current management, including yourself, wasn’t around would the junior managers continue running the business following closely the manual you already have? Do you have one in place?
Make a step of recording and detailing all the company procedures, policies, guidelines among others in a database that can be searched with ease by anyone. You can actually request all questions asked to be recorded and stored in an easy to use (and search) database.
For every question asked by a member of staff, they should be prevailed upon to always record it including the answer provided in a retrievable format.
#4 Go for the best talent in your industry
From the beginning, the best way to prepare your business to run without you is bringing in the top talent in your industry. Such a practice ensures a highly creative, professional and efficient team will always be around. By motivating the team to always take charge and work effectively well even when you’re not around, they can have a lasting impact on the company even when you are at home, in hospital, holiday or enjoying simple fun far from work.
#5 Programmed deliverability
No company owner has the time to follow up on all employees, babysitting them to meet deadlines and stick to schedules. You might not even have time to always look at all timed expectations and ensure everything is alright. To be on the safe side, come up with a system where everything that needs to be done is timed and expected delivery period programmed.
Once assigned, you would then be expecting the work to be done within a specific timeframe with updates in between. As such, everyone will be reading from the same page in terms of timelines, deliverables and expectations.
#6 Create a solid management team
If you think about it, some of the best companies perform so well due to solid, trustworthy and driven managers. Sometimes, you might not even know what the manager or owner does because the management hierarchy works so well. Of course, the management team needs to be both motivated and strong. It should be able to handle matters even when you are not around.
Together with well documented procedures and guidelines, a strong management can allow a business owner to stay away from their investment without anything going haywire.
#7 Empowered staff
One thing that could hamper business delivery and halt a company from doing business effortlessly is inability to make decisions by the management when the owner is away. If you make every decision and all minor and major issues have to pass through you, there’ll be problems when you’re not around.
To keep your business running well whether there or not, ensure all your employees are ever empowered and encourage to make decisions even if they have to report their actions. This avoids derailing orders and deliverables. If you’ve hired right then in almost all the cases the team will always make the best call. Over time, the staff’s confidence will build up and things that need to be executed in the company will be handled and dealt with without delay.
#8 Separate your business accounts from your personal ones
This may be a no brainer but a business owner can spend so much time running, growing, developing and investing in their company that it becomes a part of their personal life, including bank accounts. Separating the business’s bank accounts and the owners might be difficult. To be on the safe side and to avoid heartaches if you ever decide to sell, always keep your personal finance in personal bank accounts and your company’s accounts in theirs.
Without separation of accounts and relying heavily on the enterprising capability of your business can affect the quality of your life and that of your family as well. Save money on your personal account and ensure that you’re able to survive without having to tap into the company’s coffers.
#9 Limit time spent in the company
Perhaps what you should start with to help your company operate successfully even when you’re not around, ensure you’ve created respectable boundaries and limited the time you spend in the business. Working efficiently isn’t directly related to spending more time in the company. You could start by ensuring that you don’t work past a specific hour, such as 5pm.
You can also delegate and stay away for most of the time, keep yourself busy elsewhere and pop in whenever you can to see how the business is doing without you. With time, everyone will start working as they should without minding whether you’re around or not. Even better were you to ever sell the business you would have already prepared yourself mentally and physically.
#10 Ensured objectives are well aligned
Empowering your staff and recruiting the best talent is great but hardly enough. If a business is to run efficiently well even when the owner isn’t around, it must ensure that all its goals and visions are well aligned. If a company’s team relies heavily on the orders of the boss for guidance and direction pitfalls, roadblocks and problems cannot be avoided. However, where the staff understands all-encompassing objectives and exactly how they’re to be accomplished even hard and challenging times won’t be too much.
#11 Put your management into the test
How strong is your management team? Are they able to accomplish anything without you? Sometimes, stepping away consciously from the daily running of the business suddenly can test the preparation of your investment in getting things done without you around. You can actually test the company’s foundation when things are running well and there’s absolutely no pressure. Testing it when things aren’t going well can turn into a disaster. Doing this occasionally will ensure that when you won’t be around, perhaps after letting the business go or traveled far the company won’t grind into a halt.
#12 Ownership culture in your business
Sometimes to give people a reason to work hard, show loyalty and manage a business expertly even when you’re not around is as simple as allowing them to own a stake in it. You can start by ensuring the business’s financial standing is well understood by everyone and they can stake their own funds as well. With such an arrangement the success of the company will be very important to them and when the owner isn’t around they will act like persons who actually own it and have a reason to keep it running accordingly.
#13 Embrace tech
To effectively commit yourself to things you would like to accomplish as well as those you’re qualified in, you might want to come up with scalable and repeatable support platform. This caters for all day-to-day activities right away. This is possible by doing novel things like embracing the current technological innovation. In the process, you can create a highly decentralized platform of collaborating with your workers and other stakeholders.
As such, issues of geography are removed, including working hours and physical presence in the office. For instance, your entire team or some of it can be working remotely allowing you to recruit from around the country or worldwide for the best talent.
Instant messengers like WhatsApp, or Slack and Zoom for video conferencing among others can shrink a global workforce into a manageable team. In the process, you can actually spend more hours at home with your family, travel, sleeping or just doing the things you love while your company work gets done around the clock.
#14 Automate what you can
You can also automate processes such as purchases where customers can order for certain services or goods online automatically. While you’re assured of a recurring revenue stream, your employees are able to handle processes requiring human presence and your oversight duty will be very minimal.
You must prepare your company to run without you. It’s even vital if you intend to sell it someday.