One of the key considerations while buying a business is whether the company would perform well without their owner for a long period of time. Clearly, if the business is entirely dependent on the business owner, its value without the business owner is marginal at best.
To measure your business’ ability to handle your absence, start by taking some time off. Leave your paperwork and electronics at home and switch off your mobile.
When you return, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how much your team has achieved without you. They would probably also have made decisions on a lot of the things that they would always check with you. That’s a good thing and a sign you should start planning even longer vacations.
You’ll also likely come back to an inbox full of issues that need your personal attention. Instead of diving in to find answers to each problem in a frenzied attempt to clean up your inbox, slow down and look at each issue through the lens of a possible problem with your Team, your Systems or your Organisation Structure.
With each problem, ask yourself the question – Who else in my team could have handled this? Why did they not? – Was it due to a lack of ownership or training?
If the answer is no-one, then ask – Who can handle this 6 months into the future? What do I need to do to make that happen?
Next, look at your systems and procedures. Could the issue have been dealt with if you had a system or a set of rules in place? Remember the rule – Systemise the routine and Personalise the exception! Was the issue routine or exceptional? For the routine, start implementing a system to follow in the future. For the exception, start training your next in command to handle these.
Most business owners quite rightly believe that they can do it best. This often makes them the main bottleneck preventing the growth of their own business. In your organisation does responsibility and authority go hand in hand? If the buck stops with you, does it always come to you or does it often stop before it comes to you?
For example, you could authorise your sales staff to spend up to £100 without checking with you if they know it will likely get them a deal or great customer satisfaction.
Given the sheer number of fires that may need to be extinguished when you return, just the thought of taking a holiday may make your stomach churn. But if you change your approach to all the issues you face when you return by focussing on team, systems, organisation structure and training, you’ll find that every time you take a vacation, your business actually improves and becomes more valuable by becoming less dependent on you.
The better your company runs on autopilot, the more valuable it will be when you’re ready to sell.
Shweta Jhajharia is a partner and principal coach in Europe’s largest Business Coaching firm in ActionCOACH. She is a multi-award winning Business Coach and has been awarded the “London Coach of the Year” consistently since 2009.
Shweta’s clients are achieving phenomenally consistent growth (averaging 41% over the last three years!) despite the crippling recession that has hit Europe.
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