Are you doing this?
How much does your business depend on you? If you answered, “All the time!” you are not alone.
Many small business owners fall into the trap of creating a business that is dependent on them.
This dependency on the owner makes it difficult to scale the business. It makes it difficult to have a work life balance. And it actually creates a business that is more difficult to sell, when the owner is ready.
In The Value Builder System™, which helps business owners design their business to be sellable and easier to manage on a day-to-day basis, businesses are encouraged to ask their customers in an anonymous survey:
On a scale of 0 to 10, to what extent do you do business with (company name) because of your personal relationship with the owner(s)?
- "0": I do not have a direct relationship with the owner(s)
- "10": The owner's personal involvement is a major reason I am a customer
This creates a dependability score and is the basis for starting to look at how to decrease dependability on the owner.
This week, we encourage you to stop and think about your customers. How would your customers answer that question? How many customers depend on the relationship they have with you, the owner?
Those with higher scores and owner dependency can probably relate to:
- Customers refuse to work with your team, but have to talk to you.
- You feel you have to work with certain customers because of your history with them.
- Doing work that doesn’t equal the value of your time.
- Feeling the need to be a presence in the business.
- People expect to see you.
- Constant interruptions.
So how do you create a business that doesn’t rely on you?
It starts with systems. If a client has to work with you, it’s because there is something that you know, that your team doesn’t know. This something can be a skill. It can be knowledge. It can be experience. And most importantly it can be taught. It can be put into a system. If you don’t know how, we can help.
We often hear business owners object that what they do can’t be put into a system. That it takes too long to train someone else. And we understand. It isn’t easy. And, it’s the reason we see many business owners struggle to sell their business when they want to retire. After all, if it takes someone with your knowledge and experience to do what you do, then the number of candidates who can buy your business is small.
However, we know that it can be done. We have proven it multiple times with many different industries. You can’t be replaced, but the work that you do can be done by someone else. The business does not have to depend on you. You can be the Bill Gates or Steve Jobs of your company. You can design your business to get results without you. That "something" you know can be bottled and shared with your team. You just have to make the decision to learn to work on your business instead of in it.
And what better time to start redesigning your business than today?
Caution: As you work on designing your business to be less dependent on you, be careful not to simply transfer that dependency to a key employee. The dependency should be on systems, not people. And don’t forget, we can help you with building systems and redesigning your business to work without you!