“You-proofing your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a company, not a job, and have a life.”
If you’re struggling to get what you want from your business this episode is for YOU! Learn five tips to help you get your business to run without you.
“Think of your business as a product. When you buy something, it comes along with an instruction manual. Write an employee manual or Standard Operating Procedure or set of guidelines for your business.”
To start mapping out your processes and creating guidelines, download the 3-Step Process Documenter from EOS
Jack Stacks books: The Great Game of Business
[The following is the transcript of this video. Please note that this episode, like all posts, features Jean speaking unscripted and unedited — filmed in one take. The actual video may differ in content from the script].
Hey everyone! It’s Jean.
This week I want to talk to you about the five ways to get your business to run without you!
To some of you, these may seem obvious. To others, they may seem downright scary. But believe me, I wish I’d figured them out 10 years ago, versus getting caught up in The Owner’s Trap.
So, some business owners are obsessed with sales goals, others focus on their profits. Have you ever considered making it your primary goal to build your business so that it can thrive and grow without you.
A business that can operate without its owner is valuable. And, it gives you the one thing most entrepreneurs dream of: freedom. The freedom to choose the projects you want to pursue and take the vacations you want to take. And when circumstances dictate, it gives you options. The option to sell, if the time is right. The ability to rest, when health dictates.
So today, I want to share 5 ways you can set up your business so that you can switch it onto autopilot.
1. Write an instruction manual
Think of your business as product. When you buy something, it comes along with an instruction manual. Write an employee manual or Standard Operating Procedure or set of guidelines for your business. These are a set of instructions, guidelines or rules you staff can follow when you’re not around. And when an employee leaves, you can quickly swap them out with a replacement to take on the role.
Pro tip: Start taking vacations to see how well your employee manual performs. If something breaks, fix it. Gradually extend the period of your vacation, until you’re confident things can run without you.
2. Vet your offerings
Identify the products and services that require your personal involvement either making, delivering or selling them. Make a list of everything you sell and score everything on a scale of 0 to 10 on how easy they are to teach an employee to handle. Assign a 10 to offering that are easy to teach employees and give a lower score to anything that requires your personal attention. Commit to stop selling the lowest scoring product or service on the list. Repeat this exercise quarterly.
3. Start creating automatic customers
Are you your company’s best sales person? If you are, you have a problem. You’ll need to fire yourself as your company’s rainmaker so that it can continue to run, and thrive, when you’re not around. There are a few ways to do this: membership models, subscription models, annual recurring revenue models. All of these models have your customers buying from you automatically. Start by creating a service contract with your customers to fulfil one of their ongoing needs on a regular basis. Let me give you an example: if you’re a software business, consider selling your applications on a subscription basis.
4. Give them a stake in the outcome
In his books, The Great Game of Business and A Stake In The Outcome, Jack Stack writes about creating a culture of ownership in your business. Get transparent about your financial results and how you allow employees to participate in your financial success. This results in employees who act like owners when you’re not around.
5. Get them to walk in your shoes
If you’re not comfortable opening up your financials to your employees, consider a simple management technique where you respond to every question with the same answer, “If you owned the business, what would you do?” By encouraging employees to walk in your shoes, you get them to start thinking about their question as you would and it builds the habit of starting to think like an owner. Pretty soon, employees are able to solve their own problems.
You-proofing your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a company, not a job, 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 when the time comes.