Five ways to get your business to run without you. 
Published: July 08, 2022

You may have set up your business to make a profit, achieve sales targets, or have a positive impact on the planet and society. Maybe all of these things. But there’s something you’ve possibly not put much thought to – how is your business going to thrive without you at the helm?  

You may think it’s a terrible thing not to be in charge, but a business no longer dependent on its owner is the ultimate asset to own. It allows you complete control over your time so you can choose which projects you get involved in, as well as the holidays you can take. When it comes to getting out, a business independent of its owner is worth a lot more than an owner-dependent company.  

Here are five ways to set up your business so it can succeed without you. 

Give them a stake in the outcome. 

Jack Stack, the author of The Great Game of Business and A Stake in The Outcome wrote about creating an ownership culture inside your company. How do you achieve this? By being  

transparent about your financial results and allowing employees to participate in your financial success. This allows employees to act like owners when you’re not around. An understudy in a play can’t take over the lead role if they don’t know the script. By keeping them involved you’ll have people who are prepared to step up to the plate when the time arrives.   

2. Get them to walk in your shoes. 

If you’re not comfortable opening the company books to your employees, consider a simple management technique where you respond to every question your staff brings you with the same answer – “If you owned the company, what would you do?” 

By forcing your employees to walk in your shoes, you get them thinking about the business 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, rather than relying on you.   

3. Measure your involvement.  

It pays to identify the products and services which require your personal involvement in either making, delivering, or selling them. Make a list of everything you sell and score each on a scale of 0 to 10 depending on how easy they are to teach an employee to handle. Assign a 10 to offerings that are easy to teach, and give a lower score to anything that requires your personal attention. Commit to removing the lowest scoring product or service on your list. This will remove a major barrier to handing over the reins to your employees.  

4. Create automatic customers. 

If you’re the company’s best salesperson, you’ll need to fire yourself in order for the company to run without you. Not a great scenario. 

One way around this is to create a recurring revenue model where customers buy products or services from you automatically. Consider creating a service contract with your customers that fulfils their ongoing needs on a regular basis. This will remove the danger of losing sales once you step aside.  

5. Write an Instruction Manual for your business. 

Finally, make sure your company comes with instructions included. Write an employee manual or what MBA-types called Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These are a set of rules employees can follow for repetitive tasks in your company. This will ensure employees have a rulebook they can follow when you’re not around, and, when an employee leaves, you can quickly swap them out with a replacement to take on their duties.  

You-proofing your business has enormous benefits. It will not only allow you to create a more valuable company, it will give you a life. Your business will be free to scale up because it is no longer solely dependent on you, its potential bottleneck. Best of all, it will be worth a lot more to a buyer whenever you are ready to sell.