By Gabriel Onyango
You have struggled and toiled to beat the odds and finally, you have your business up and running, its doing well and you are getting new customers by the day. However, what happens when you have to leave the country for a while, stay away from work because you are recovering from surgery or are just burnt out from the continuous working and are need of a vacation?
A business that is not prepared to function in your absence, will quickly collapse under its own weight. While an enterprise where the owner can step away with little effect to the business becomes scalable; can be expanded to other regions and works autonomously is a magnet for investors.
Processes and procedures
Every business has processes for doing things, a normal routine; where you get supplies from, which transporter you use, how you reach customers old and new, who signs the cheques. All these procedures are at the heart of the business and at most times, are what fall apart when you leave.
From the point of designing your business model, process automation should be central to the design. Automate as many routine tasks as possible, from accounting, order placements to release of salaries. Outsource (or plan to do so) what are not your core activities in your business from accounting to marketing.
One doesn’t have to be a big business to achieve business automation, technology has levelled the playing field, with the ability to schedule tasks such as social media posting to up to six months.
David Ogilvy, marketing executive often hailed as the father of advertising is quoted saying: “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it…Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine, ”
The root of delegation is hiring the right talent, when the right people are in place; they can work on their own and seek extra responsibility and take the business to new heights.
However, delegation starts before you leave the business, giving extra responsibility to employees, sending them to represent you at meetings, all while providing guidance such that when you leave they are confident in their abilities.
Resist the temptation to want to do everything on your own and tolerate mistakes as you shape the abilities of your team to work to your standards. Sir Richard Branson, celebrated entrepreneur behind the Virgin Group with over 400 companies sums it up saying, “If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.”
The company culture, which is the attitude, thinking and behavior within an organization, matters a lot. Establish a culture of interdependence between employees without you being at the center of it, collaboration comes in handy when you are away from the business and employees supplement each other’s’ strengths to run the company.
Create performance measures that you can use to gauge how the business is doing without you; they include sales, production targets, website visitor numbers etc. All of which you can check and advice from thousands of miles away.
A business that can work on its own is a business with potential and the sky is the limit. It takes less of a toll on the work-life balance of the entrepreneur and allows them to concentrate on growing the business instead of working in it.