Is Your Business You-Proof?

September 2021 Newsletter | By: Ian Sachs, CFP®, CLU®
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Cogs, Risk Resource

Now is the time to ensure that your business isn’t all about you. And if you don’t own a business, this equally applies to any type of management role. Here are two simple things to think about.

#1: Surviving the “hit-by-a-bus” test

If you were out of action for three months and unable to work, would your business keep running smoothly? The more your staff and clients need you, the less valuable your company is. One good way to start making your business more independent is to begin spending less time at the office. Start by not working evenings or weekends and avoid replying to emails and phone calls during off hours. Your clients will defer to others in your organization who are equally capable of handling their immediate needs and your employees will start making more decisions independently. It might come as a shock to find out how much your business has become such an essential part of you. Begin looking at your business as an inanimate economic engine, not as something that defines who you are.

#2: Management Team vs. Sole Manager

Companies with a management team (as opposed to a sole manager) are twice as likely to survive without you. If you don’t have a management team, identifying or hiring a second-in-command is a good first move. A second-in-command can help you balance the demands of running your company.

If you don’t already have a second-in-command, follow this four-step plan:

  • Identify someone internally. Internal candidates have a strong tendency to outperform external ones. If one cannot be identified, hire someone.
  • Give your second-in-command a special project. Assign a project that allows them to demonstrate their leadership skills to you and the rest of your team.
  • Communicate your choice. If you pick a second-in-command from an internal pool, explain your choice to the rest of your team.
  • Shift from manager to coach. The transition from manager to coach is a gradual evolution where the goal is to ask more questions, spend more time listening, and spend less time talking and directing.

Making your business you-proof takes time, often months or even years, but you have to start somewhere. Making your business you-proof will increase it’s value, continuity, and your overall life balance by freeing up more time.