Summer is here, and although it may seem strange, taking a holiday is the perfect opportunity to increase the value of your company.
The most valuable businesses, the ones that buyers will pay a premium for, are companies that run on autopilot. In contrast, owner dependent businesses attract a steep discount.
This summer, consider extending your vacation, and see how well things run in your absence. Sure some things may go wrong. But what better way to learn how to make your business operate more independently of you – and therefore more valuable.
Here is a six-step plan for profiting from your summer break:
Step 1: Schedule your holiday plus one day
Whatever day you plan to start working after your holiday, add one day. That extra day will give you uninterrupted time to review how things went in your absence, not to mention, recover from the jet lag.
Step 2: Identify what went wrong
Make a list of the things that went wrong while you were away and group them into three buckets:
Mistakes: errors people made where there is a right and wrong answer;
Bottlenecks: operations that ran into difficulties because you weren’t there to give input;
Stalled projects: initiatives that stalled in your absence because you’re the person leading them.
Step 3: Correct the mistakes
Mistakes are an easy place to start. Typically, they are a result of a lack of guidance or training. While the solution may seem obvious to you, it’s not always clear to your staff. Write up a simple process or some instructions for the next time your employees face the same situation.
Make sure the process is clear, and easily accessible to everyone — consider using a file sharing service like Google Drive or DropBox.
Step 4: Remove the bottlenecks
If you’re consistently being asked for input on operations, there’s a high probability your absence will cause a bottleneck. Make sure your staff know where your input is required and where not. To avoid confusion, make it clear when you want staff to act alone and when you still need to have a say.
Step 5: Delegate authority
One of the toughest parts of making your business less dependent on you is letting go of projects that stall in your absence. Ask if you’re the right person to lead the project in the first place. Often projects fall into your lap by default, rather than because you’re the best person to lead them. Taking a break will help you identify projects that stalled while you were away. Categorize them into two groups 1) strategic projects you need to lead, and 2) projects you can hand-off. Hang onto the strategic stuff and hand over the non-strategic projects to someone on your team better suited to driving them.
Step 6: Give everyone a blank cheque
Okay, this might sound crazy! However, employees empowerment is essential. At Zappos, employees have the freedom to do whatever they feel is right to help the customer. Employees are encouraged to do things like offer free exchanges, send gifts to customers, or provide free expedited shipping.
Most employees know how to make customers happy but lack the confidence to act. Giving employees some spending authority will speed up customer resolution issues — and empower your team to do the right thing when you’re not around.
Summer beckons! Take a vacation — if you follow these six steps, you’ll return with a tan and a more valuable company.