Is your business you-proof?
We work with a lot of small to medium sized businesses. In a lot of cases we work directly with owners of the businesses. This post is not about my clients, but about businesses around the world that face a similar mentality.
The photo was chosen very specifically. This photo to me represents a flourishing business. Beautiful flowers, fantastic scenery, just a great place to be. A lot of businesses are all of these things. The question is, is this state of flourishing beauty contingent on the owner being involved with everything, or, is your business you-proof?
We’ve watched enough Dragon’s Den, and read enough books to recognize when not just the success of the business, but it’s very survival is dependent on the owner being there day to day, making all of the decisions. It’s not even about having the name of the owner on the business. McDonalds is a prime example of the name of the creators on the building, but not being involved any longer. It has more to do with leadership.
I’m an excellent artist. Also, Henry’s Hardware wasn’t Henry-proof. He died, the business died.
The question, as is phrased often on Dragon’s Den, is this. If you get hit by a bus today and die, what happens to the business? Think about this. In your business, what happens if you are gone tomorrow? Will your business continue without you?
“But I’m too busy to train other people on everything else that I do!” Make time. Start to document. Make procedures that anyone can follow. Have a succession plan in place. If you need to hire someone to take over some of your daily duties to clear up your plate to focus on the future, do it. It will be entirely worth it as your plate gets cleared up, it will allow you more time for business development, marketing, evaluation, etc. and it will allow you to be more successful.
Making your business you-proof is nothing more than building a team of excellent people that will continue your business legacy after you’re gone. This is all a function of leadership, and the leadership quality this will test the most is TRUST. You will need to relinquish power, trust and empower your team, educate them yourself, and encourage self-education on work time.
Do these things and you will transform your business into a you-proof business that will last beyond your lifetime and will continue to bless your team after you are gone. I wish this for my team. I come to work every day and push myself so that they have a great place to do what they love (by the way this is helping other businesses be more successful in a variety of ways), and so they can continue to do it after I depart this earth.