You may wonder why, after all your tireless years building your business up from scratch, you would then want to leave it. After adjusting to working around the clock, filling in wherever needs filling in, and being your company’s go-to decision maker, it’s possible you’ve lost sight of the benefits that drew you to being a business owner in the first place. We become owners because we want to run a multifaceted, fully functioning service - not to work in another business, or worse, be run by your own business.
When hiring employees, they are assigned to specific departments and assignments in order to take charge of specific areas in the business specifically so you don’t have to fill in. Parents know well that letting the kids go off on their own is a difficult step to take. In your role as owner - much like a parent - you will reach a point in your company where it’s time to take a step back and let your company run itself. Still, there are several things you can do in preparation to step back and let it grow, so you feel a tad bit better about sending the kids off to college!
1. Hire for Talent
One of the most important parts of your company’s wellness is its employees. When hiring, it’s important to hire only the best of the best. Generally, you should be looking for people who demonstrate high attention to detail, people who have a history of long-term employment at their previous occupation, and those who show initiative.
Furthermore, you want to hire employees with the confidence to problem solve on their own without needing your constant approval or input on problems that arise. One way to insure your employees feel empowered to fully take command of their position is by limiting your own insights or desires to assist. Instead, a simple, “I trust your judgement” or “Whatever you think is best to proceed with” will suffice.
2. Make Yourself Replaceable
Going along with that sentiment, delegation and automation are your friends! Ideally, for your business to be self-sustaining without your presence, each aspect of your business should have an efficient hierarchy of management that deadlines are maintained and projects are pushed forward in seamless transition. Similarly, to limit your employees' need to come to you with questions, you can implement a manual of all your company policies, procedures, frequently asked questions, and solutions used in the past. Upload this manual into an easily searchable database and encourage employees to record any new questions they have & the answers they receive into this database.
3. Embrace Current Technology
You can further streamline your business functions by automating some of your company’s more basic functions by implementing technology like chatbots & check out features on your company website, you free up space for your employees to focus on the more complex projects and tasks ahead.
Technology can also assist in your search for talented employees by having remote workers - allowing you to pull from a wider pool of applicants both nationally and internationally. Plus, by allowing the bulk of your employees to work remotely, you can streamline communication through apps like Zoom, Slack, and GroupMe while saving money on offices and day-to-day resources! Not to mention you’ll have less employees needing to take off for travel or personal needs since they’ll be able to work anywhere with a Wifi connection!
4. Trial Run It!
Once you’re assured that all these models are in place in your company, it’s best to test out how your company runs without you on a short-term basis before fully making the transition. You can look at this phase like parents letting their older teenage kid stay home alone for the weekend for the first time.
During this phase, you need to make yourself unavailable - or at least mainly unavailable - for anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. Once you return to your business, you can see accurately where there are shortcomings in your business model and where things are going well. Oftentimes, when you as the business owner move on from working in your business, your team has an opportunity to implement new creative strategies that help grow your business in ways it wouldn’t have with you there.
Before testing out your absence, be sure to do this during a stable or even flourishing time in your company. There will inevitably be struggles with you stepping down from being the go-to in your company, and you don’t want to leave during an already tumultuous time.
Your business will always be a personal accomplishment, but in order to fully enjoy your status as an entrepreneur, you need to know when it’s time to step back and let it go out on its own. Much like becoming an empty nester, you may feel too nostalgic to let go of the old days. However, you can rest assured knowing you’ve done your job and you can be proud of creating a self-sufficient company with an A-team of dedicated employees.