Feeling trapped in your business?
There are times in every business where the owner needs to be on top of everything. This could be a high-growth phase or a time when a drastic adjustment was needed. This is normal and even necessary.
But it should not be forever.
The cliché is well known – your job is to work on your business, not in your business.
To explain: if you are continually performing day-to-day functions in your business, then you are not doing your real job. The real job is to continually develop and improve your business. You need to understand how your market is evolving, and how you need to change to suit this evolution. This involves time away from the day-to-day. Equally, it is important that all the day-to-day is appropriately delegated.
Feeling trapped can be that sensation of not been able to devote time to change. It can be that you fear the business needs you day in, day out in order to keep going. Are you doing most of the sales? Do you have the key relationships? Do only you make those day-to-day decisions?
You might think you can’t afford not to do this, and you may be correct. But ask yourself: do you have a job or a business?
To cap it all, this feeling of being trapped is doing real damage to your business value. Why would someone buy your business if a key part of the business’s success is leaving?
So how do you change? As Richard Branson says, his job is to make himself redundant. With the right team and the right systems in place then you should be able to exit the day-to-day.
Like all change, it should be done gradually. Equally, you need a plan – begin with the end in mind.
First, identify those items that take up most of your time but are not critical for you to do, and pass them on. From payroll, purchasing or other day-to-day activities, identify those people in the business who can rise to the challenge and take on the additional responsibility. This will free up time to consider how to build your business.
Second, look at those other tasks that you undertake and perhaps where you are more critical to business success – say key relationships or product knowledge – and see how you can progressively shift those responsibilities to others.
Third, fix on your future plan. A guiding compass to developing the plan should be understanding what would attract a likely buyer. Ask yourself when you look at the market which business you admire and would buy, and why. Now ask yourself what you need to change to make your business valuable. A guiding principle to start with is that your business should be measured against the four attributes, DFRS:
Defendable, Repeatable, Scalable and Teachable (to employees)
Now you are no longer trapped and you are on the way to creating a business of true value.