Your business shouldn't need you. Anytime I hear a business owner say that they feel like their business can’t run without them, I can’t help but feel sad, because it doesn’t have to be this way.
Most small business owners start in a phase where everything is relying on them. They are…
the marketing manager,
the social media manager,
the customer service representative,
and everything in between.
But, when a business owner is everything to a business, there is no stepping away from it all without taking a hit.
The problem is that most small business owners face is that their business does need them, leaving them feeling stuck.
Oftentimes, when we dream of entrepreneurship, we have these ideas in our heads of what it will look like. But the truth of the matter is that most people are working way more hours and getting underpaid for what they are actually doing. That dream schedule of being their own boss just isn’t there.
As somebody who has been in business for 19 years, my schedule looks pretty good. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but overall I am happy.
However, that most definitely wasn’t the case the whole time.
Just a few years ago I was working too much – evenings, weekends, you name it. I was letting calls interrupt my dinners with my family and getting text messages at all hours of the night.
That just wasn’t how I wanted to run my business or my life. So I put steps in place to create a change where I could remove things off of my plate and have the freedom that I really wanted as an entrepreneur.
Now, I have around 60-70 employees and another 50 or so in my brick and mortar business, and I am never getting phone calls all day long. In fact, I received zero calls for my online business and only one call from my brick and mortar.
I will admit that I was communicating with some people from my online business, though, but there is a reason for this.
In my online business I have four direct reports – a number that will continue to get smaller. And for my brick and mortar business, I have one direct report who fills me in on what I need to know each week as needed. This alone has given me so much freedom with my time.
Now, let’s talk about what it took for my brick and mortar business to be able to run without me.
Remember when I said that I was working way too much? As the owner of my dance studio, I had my hands in every part of my business.
I knew I didn’t want to continue this way, so I made a plan and slowly started to phase myself out of different departments in a way that would be best for my business.
So, before leaving the teaching department, I made sure that our fulfillment was top-notch. I had to make sure that I was getting amazing teachers, so I
took them to conferences,
bought curriculums for them,
started observing their classes.
I was doing all the things to be able to put a stamp of approval on our fulfillment. It took a couple years, but it happened.
After fulfillment was checked off, I went to the front desk to put all of the office and management systems in place. Next, I focused on admin and really honing in on marketing – a role that I have now outsourced to really help our business flourish.
In every department that I went to, I wanted to make sure that I was leaving the business running the best way it possibly could, so it could thrive without needing me there for every aspect.
Taking the time to go through each department and perfect our systems and flow was a temporary sacrifice for an ultimate gain.
Now, I don’t have to be in the studio or even on the phone for that business at all aside from my weekly phone call with my one direct report.
So for those CEOs who want to be needed less while their business is still booming, I am proof that it is possible. It may not be immediate, but you can get there. And when you do, it will feel so good.
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