Run your business like you’re taking maternity (or paternity) leave.
Published: January 14, 2022

An interesting question for you – how well does your company operate when you don’t show up for work? The answer can have a significant impact on the value of your business. If your company could survive your absence for a while, you will score well on something referred to as “Hub & Spoke,” a driver in increasing your company’s value. If your company will struggle to function without out, then its value will be downgraded. You need to ensure that the performance of your business is not seriously affected by your absence.

To understand the Hub & Spoke value driver, imagine a large international airport like Paris Charles de Gaulle or London Heathrow. They act as a centralized routing location for the airlines that rely on them. The system works efficiently enough, until a snowstorm shuts down a hub and the entire transportation system grinds to a halt. 

Now imagine you’re the hub, and you run your business with important issues coming solely through you. It’s efficient right up until the point you’re no longer there to run things, which is why anyone valuing your business will levy a steep discount if they feel you’re vulnerable in this area.

The way to deal with this is to be prepared. You need to document your standard operating procedures, so your employees have instructions for how you want things done when you’re not around. 

How a maternity leave created a business that was built to sell.

Just like many young couples, Ben and Ariel Zvaifler got a puppy and found themselves trying to figure out how to train their new dog. They also wanted to understand what toys and food they needed. The couple figured they weren’t alone and decided to launch PupBox, a subscription box for new puppy owners. 

Ariel Zvaifler was responsible for operations, among other things. She took great care in selecting products and merchandising them inside each PupBox. She even considered details around how each package would be shipped and how it felt when the customer received their PupBox. 

When Ariel found out she was pregnant with the couple’s second child, she set to work documenting her standard operating procedures. She put together instructions for her staff describing how to order products, merchandise each item, and ship boxes. It took Ariel six months to document everything, but by the time she was ready to give birth, PupBox was prepared to run without her. 

These standard operating procedures were a big part of how PupBox grew, and why the giant pet retailer, Petco, acquired PupBox in 2017.

How to prepare your company to run without you.

There may be many reasons why you have to step aside from your company. It could be ill-health, family issues, needing a break, a project that takes you away from the day-to-day business, even maternity. So what can you do when you’re not there? Start by breaking down your job into tasks and prepare instructions for your team so they can follow your standard operating procedures when you’re no longer in the hot seat. It also pays to have this plan already in place. If something happens to take you away from running your business, the team around you need to know what to do from day one.

Test your team’s knowledge to see where your processes have holes. Make sure they have all the information they require. It’s no good if all your company’s plans are in your head. The team around you need to know what’s going on if they’re to keep the ship running smoothly when you’re not around.

By having a process in place you’ll not only give yourself peace of mind, you’ll increase the value of your business.