You are the heart and soul of your business.
After all, you’ve created your company from the ground up and you’ve nurtured it through the exciting early stages of growth and beyond. It feels like an inextricable part of you.
And that can feel like the most wonderful thing.
Or…it can feel incredibly restrictive.
You might find yourself wondering who could make key decisions if there was an emergency or you became ill and had to step back from the business.
You might feel that the work/life balance you dreamed of when you started up is long overdue.
Or you might even wonder what would happen to the business if you decided to take a more long-term permanent break from the company as you follow your next dream or pursue your next business idea.
Either way, as you look to level up, it’s almost certainly worth considering how to mould your current business into one that could survive — and even thrive — without you.
These 4 strategies are an excellent starting point.
1. Create a business instruction guide
Like most business owners, it’s a safe bet that, as organised as you are, much of your business still lives in your head.
And as long as key aspects of your company are lodged firmly in your grey matter, it’s going to be impossible for you to step back without the business taking a hit.
The key to overcoming that is to create a manual or instruction guide that encompasses everything a person might need to know if they were to step in and take control of running your business.
This will encompass everyday matters like your sales process, your vendor and client details, your client onboarding processes, and admin and financial details.
But it should also cover bigger picture things, like your long and short-term goals, your marketing strategy, and sales forecasts.
Not only will this information be invaluable if an emergency or illness did force you to rely on someone else with little notice, but it will highlight areas you need to focus on if you want to execute a more planned takeover at some point.
2. Consider hiring new staff
If you’re still a one-person business, it’s worth considering whether the time has come to hire some help.
Whether a permanent employee or a network of contractors, like an online business manager or VA, makes the most sense for you, bringing someone into your business, teaching them your processes, and enlisting their help in delivering your services and dealing with customers will allow you to take a little more time for yourself — or dedicate more time to taking the business to the next level. Whichever works for you!
3. Learn to delegate
Of course, if you do decide to hire an employee — or indeed if you already have people on your books — the extra help is only going to allow you to step back if you have complete trust in them.
And that’s hard.
You might have inadvertently already developed a culture in which your people come straight to you as soon as they have a question or problem. Or you might be in the habit of giving them the grunt work while you deal with the strategy and the bigger decisions.
The key here, if time allows, is to gradually enable them to assume more responsibility, encourage them to solve problems on their own, let them become involved with decision making, and entrust them with more complex work.
In short: you’re going to have to learn to delegate!
4. Streamline your processes
The easier your business is on a day-to-day business, the easier it is to train your staff to handle things in your absence.
So take a look at all of the processes in your business and think about what you can automate, what you can streamline, and what you can hand over to your staff.
You’ll want to consider things like automating sales or booking processes, choosing a CRM that will help you keep on top of projects and customer details, and, call us biased, but it’s certainly worth investing in software that will keep your finances and other business admin under control.
Clear Books accounting software is particularly good for helping you streamline your business processes — not only will it automate your payroll and HR requirements, handle your invoices and purchase tracking, and easily share information with your accountant or employees, it will create your tax reports and Making Tax Digital VAT returns too.
When you’ve taken the time to streamline your admin in this way, you’ll know that your staff has all of the resources and information they need to handle the day-to-day running of the business with ease. Whether you’re on hand to help them or not.
No matter how much you’d like more freedom from your business (or if you simply want the reassurance that things could run smoothly without you) the thought of relinquishing control isn’t always a pleasant one.
However, if you start implementing some of these strategies, you’ll feel far more confident that you’ve safeguarded the future of the business, whatever happens.
Clear Books Online Accounting & Payroll Software
Clear Books is an award-winning online accounting and payroll software for small businesses. Thousands of business owners, contractors, freelancers and sole traders across the UK use our easy-to-use online accounting software to manage their business finances. All users benefit from the outstanding free telephone and email support. Clear Books was launched in London in 2008 and offers a free 30 day trial with free ongoing support and bank feeds. We’re rated as ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot.