How to Get Your Business to Run Without You
If you aspire to build a valuable company, one crucial factor is to ensure your business can operate independently without your constant involvement, but embarking on this journey can feel daunting. In this article, we’ll explore three cost-effective, simple strategies to set your business on a path to autonomy and allow it to thrive without your constant presence. Here are 3 Creative Ways…
Replace yourself by niching down
The reason most owners can’t replace themselves is that a substitute would be too expensive. Trying to replace your breadth of experience would likely require a very high-salaried employee. If you can’t afford to replace all of what you do, niche down your core offering.
For example, Casey Cavell’s baseball business, D-Bat Academy, could have catered to a broad range of players: professionals, softball players, slow-pitch beer leaguers, fast-pitch…but instead, he got specific about who his business was for 5- to 10-year-old kids.
Sure, he could have charged more per customer if he catered to college athletes and aspiring pros—but those elite athletes would expect to get a hitting coach with years of expertise, and Casey would have had to staff for that.
On the other hand, when you have a business where one of its primary objectives is to give an 8-year-old an awesome birthday party, well, an entry-level employee can deliver on that.
When you narrow down your offering, you can bypass the high salary that comes with someone with a wide breadth of experience.
Create a question diary
When Jodie Cook was building her social media agency, she made a conscious choice every time an employee came to ask her a question.
The easy thing to do would have been to answer the question, but she forced herself to write each question down. She turned that question diary into a business manual that documented how to do every single task required of her employees.
Her manual came in the form of an Excel spreadsheet with 50 tabs, each one documenting a specific process, like payroll for example.
Challenge yourself to do the same: When an employee asks you a question, resist the urge to just answer and move on. Document those queries, and turn them into a standard operating procedure (SOP) that enables your staff to develop expertise in their role. The go-to reference becomes the manual…instead of you.
List your employees alphabetically on your site
Most companies list their employees by seniority, with the owner and CEO as the top listing. However, this communicates that you are the most important person in your company, which will trigger everyone from salespeople to suppliers and prospective partners to want to go straight to the top by calling you.
An effective strategy to downplaying your role in your company (and getting others to step up and shoulder more) is to list employees alphabetically rather than by seniority on your company’s website. This approach can minimize the spotlight on you. Additionally, using titles like “Head of Culture” and “Head of Product” instead of “CEO” or “Owner” can further obscure your seniority, making it less likely customers will call you by default.
Getting your business to thrive without you gives you the freedom to cherry-pick the projects you want to work on or just own your business and collect passive income. A business that runs without you is also a valuable, sellable asset if you ever choose to move on to a new chapter in your life. Niching down, creating SOPs, and downplaying your role on your website are all tactical things you can do today to get your business running more independently in the future.