Business Owner Challenge: Be the Least Important Person in Your Business

At The Growth Coach, we see a recurring challenge with small businesses – the business owner is the manager, lead technician, human resources person, marketing department, sales person and more. There are only so many hours in the day and no one can possibly be at their best when they’re spread that thin. So what’s the solution? As a small business owner, you need to learn to be the LEAST important person in your company.

A good way to become less important in your business is to think about what you need to do to SELL the business. Even if you aren’t looking to sell anytime soon, you should still be working toward that end wealth-creating goal. But what does that mean? In short, it means that the company needs to be successful AND function without you. So whether it’s because you need to step back to reclaim your life or you need to turn your business into a more stable asset, the answer is the same. You need to create systems that allow you to let go of the daily operations of your business.

Your business, long term, cannot depend upon your presence, personality, problem solving or perspiration for its daily survival.  If so, your business does not work for you … you work for your business. You’ll always remain a glorified employee and prisoner to your business. Instead, you need to create an independent, self-sustaining, cash-flowing machine.  Instead of having the business be dependent on you, have the business be dependent on the operations manual, systems, processes and people you have put in place.

Here is your wake-up call: a company is never worth its full value to a buyer if you (the current owner) have to come along with it to make it run.  No one wants to buy your JOB or a broken business. Or, if they do, they won’t pay much for it.

Rather than being the Chief Everything Officer, you need to put systems in place that allow you to be the Chief Executive Officer. As the owner, you should be a generalist and a leader. Provide the vision, leadership, business systems, and the passion, but not the blood, sweat and toil on a daily basis. Instead of working so much “in” the business, work “on” the business. Your job is to create jobs for others, not create and work multiple jobs yourself. You need to start thinking like CEO instead of a lead technician.


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