So you decided you need a break, and with great excitement, planned your vacation.
As you organised flights and accommodation, you could already feel the beach sand under your feet, the sea water lapping at your toes, the sun warm on your face.
But somehow, your long-awaited vacation didn’t go as planned. You did not return relaxed and joyful. Instead, you came back to your office stressed and highly strung.
Because although you promised yourself, you’d switch off your phone and only take your laptop with for emergencies, you ended up working daily, answering questions from clients, trying to fan out problems at the office, and even following up the odd sales lead.
Now, perhaps you think it’s not a big deal missing a family lunch or two or skipping a visit to the Oceanarium with the kids, but being your own boss should not mean sacrificing so much of your life, or that of your family.
There’s a smarter way. It’s called systemising your business. But more on that in a moment.
Something Is Wrong
Attending to business on vacation takes something away from you. You may not see it right away, and although you may perceive it as normal that your business needs you 24/7, it is not supposed to be that way.
Worst of all is that it’s a symptom that something is wrong.
Being needed by staff and clients may feel fulfilling, but it’s unhealthy for both you and your business. Here’s why:
- It stops you from completely relaxing and re-energising, which is essential when your aim is to grow your business, and you need a fresh head.
- It prevents your staff from taking responsibility and from feeling vital to the company, which in turn hinders their motivation and productivity, affecting your bottom line.
- When your team can’t get stuff done without you, it prevents business growth because you don’t have the time to implement new ideas.
Here’s a question for you: maybe you’ve left your business for a vacation or some other event. In the time you were away, did it thrive or did it barely survive?
If it barely survived, you may have a problem, but the good news is that it’s fixable by systemising your business.
Creating A Systemised Business
Your own business should be the vehicle that supports your lifestyle, which gives you more freedom, not a life sentence.
Now, if you want a business to run well when you’re not around, you need to be the leader driving growth.
It’s a brutal fact that most entrepreneurs fail because they lack business skills which prohibit the sustenance and growth of a business. It’s proven by research that the majority of businesses fail within 5 years. It’s essential to develop an infrastructure that works without the boss so that the boss can work on growing the business.
So how can you create and support a scalable infrastructure?
Start taking note of things that go wrong. For instance, when a customer complains, find out what happened and initiate a process to fix it. For each problem that pops up, think of ways it can be prevented from ever happening again.
Notice what’s going well. Find out the reasons as to why those particular things are going well so that you can replicate the process in other areas of your business.
Take the time to select the right employees. Avoid being too concerned with paper qualifications (when it’s not absolutely necessary), and instead, make it a priority to select people who display the right attitude to compliment the culture of your business.
Train new team members right from the start. Invest time to induct them into your business. Teach them about your vision and culture. Continuously invest in your people as they grow into their position.
Give your team the tools they need. Provide the resources to get on with their work and to make appropriate decisions, and then encourage people to handle situations by themselves.
Provide readily accessible information. Answer frequently asked questions and have these accessible to all staff, and which gets promoted internally so that your team can find the information for themselves when they need it. A good idea for this is an intranet or cloud application.
Delegate! Take a serious look at all the tasks you perform now and aim to delegate everything that isn’t essential for you to do. If you need to, take the time to train someone to take those tasks off your plate in order to free up time for doing what you do best. Your responsibilities should focus on setting and achieving the business vision and objectives.
Observe how your team manages without you. Take more time away from the office and monitor how your team manage without you. As time goes on, increase absent periods until you are confident things will get handled if you take a break or become unavailable. Evaluate things that went wrong while you were away but also praise and encourage your staff for what went well.
Implement marketing systems. Have a marketing system in place that consistently brings in new leads and a sales systems to turn leads into customers. Having these trusted systems provides peace of mind that sales won’t dry up while you’re not there.
Allow your team to mess up occasionally. Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. Failure allows people to learn, so the mistake doesn’t happen again. Stand back and watch from a distance, as hard as it may be, knowing when to back off and when to step in.
Ensure your team have easy access to written processes and procedures. Understand the importance of documenting processes and procedures, then get your team to help, because this is a great way to get buy-in from them, which results in greater motivation to abide by the processes. With documented systems, anybody joining your team will have clear instructions to follow and be able to do things the way you want them done.
If having your business work without you is what you’d like to aim for, these business systemisation strategies will get you there faster, leaving you with time to do more things you’d like to do. Concentrate on growing your business, so that you can start living the life you dreamed of before becoming your own boss.
When things don’t run smoothly, and you find your business is a long way from where you want it to be, seek the help you need by booking a systems strategy session, and I’ll show you how to get started building a business that works without you.