Are You Working for Your Business or Is Your Business Working for You?

Working for your business

Business owners are a special breed.

At some point, they decided that working for themselves (despite all the perils that come with this occupational choice) is a better path to their version of success than working for someone else.

In the beginning, passion and lofty goals can be a real elixir for the journey ahead. And, although the finish line can seem a long way off, the usual sign of victory is some sort of financial freedom.

The assumption is that building a business will free you from all the financial and time limitations that typically come with having a career job. This is an illusion at best.

Most people who go the route of business ownership do so because they would rather spend their time and energy building their dream rather than someone else’s.

The goal of any entrepreneur, as laid out by Michael Gerber in his book, ‘The E-Myth’ is to build something that will run without you in it, thereby allowing you to free yourself from it to pursue other opportunities.

So, how come so many business owners lose sight of this long range vision and get trapped in the operational weeds of the very business they created? It is because at some point, the owner settles in, finding a role that they believe they must occupy to keep the business running? Without them, bad things could happen.

Ultimately, you are stuck working for your own business instead of your business working for you.

Extracting yourself from your own business with the assurance that it will run smoothly and profitably while paying you is possible. But it takes the belief that you want this as an outcome, and you can do it with the right plan in place.

Here are 6 strategies you can implement to eventually pull yourself away from the daily operations knowing your business will continue on in good hands.

Organizational Vision
What does your organization look like without you in it? Create an organization chart showing the roles and people who will operate your company for you. If this structure looks different than what you have today, so be it. It’s more important to have clarity about what it should look like down the road. The purpose for doing this now is to give yourself time to develop it the way you want as you go.

Optimizing Your Flow
Businesses are essentially repeatable patterns for producing the best most consistent output, whether you are offering products, services or both. What processes and systems will ensure your company operates consistently and efficiently? Draft a complete operating flow from beginning to end so you know everything necessary for continuously smooth operations has been addressed. Identify the systems needed to support the work of your staff and begin introducing them to your operations.

Future Management Talent
Carefully evaluate your management needs. Is your current management team capable and on board with the direction you want to pursue? Are they performing at the highest level possible by themselves? Be critical in your evaluation. Your management team is the most important element of your operating structure and is the key to you removing yourself!

Is Everyone Rowing in the Same Direction?
Ask yourself how well everyone in your company knows, understands and supports your company’s vision, mission and values. Don’t have any of these? This is the secret sauce of your strategy for consistency, clarity and dedication to stay on course. Companies that lose their way tend to do so because people lose sight of what their companies are all about.

Can You Measure Your Performance?
If you cannot measure what your organization is doing, you will be powerless to change or improve it. This is the key to having a well run company that you can step away from. Once everyone is clear about their roles, responsibilities and outcomes, and your systems can capture data that measures results, you can oversee your company’s performance from anywhere.

When is It Time for You to Leave?
Once you have points 1 through 5 completed, begin removing yourself from your business for increasingly longer periods of time. You want to test your structure and the people who will run it for its ability to perform in your absence. This is a great way to also see who operates as expected when they are by themselves.

If you always envisioned that someday, you could turn your business over to others to run in your absence, you can! You just need to decide that this is the culmination of your success and plan to implement your departure.

So, why do so many owners say they want this as an outcome but fail to achieve it? It’s the fear that if they leave, they will lose touch and the thing they were passionate about will leave them.

You always have the choice to say operationally connected to your own company. But if your goal has always been to start, build and move on, now you know it’s possible!


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