Taking a step back and allowing your business to run itself can be a big challenge, especially if you’re used to making all of your company’s decisions and solving all of its problems. In the first two parts of our “Getting Your Business to Run Without You” series, we reviewed how to change your mindset and how to delegate and build a system. While these two steps are crucial, they won’t amount to much if you don’t learn how to stay away and allow your new approach to play itself out.

Take a Vacation

The best way to see how your company runs without you is take a test run. Plan a getaway long enough to see if the systems you’ve put in place actually work, not just a couple of days or a period of predictable downtime. This way you can see how your people do when making decisions without you. If they need to contact you while you’re gone, it’s a sign that part of the process needs to be fixed, or maybe they need to grow more confident in their own decision-making capabilities.

It might be hard to completely let go at first. You may feel compelled to check in with your business while you are away. Checking emails is one thing, but resist the urge to initiate contact with anyone at the company. You need to allow your staff to spread their wings. As you refine your processes and go away more often, you’ll become more comfortable with delegation. This will allow you to gradually take more time off or distance yourself from day-to-day operations.

Allow Failure to Happen

As you let your company’s leadership run more independently, you may notice that they do things a little differently than you do. This is not necessarily a bad thing. They may find better or more efficient ways of running things. Don’t swoop in right away to try and fix things yourself if they do fail. Take failure as an opportunity to coach and get things back on track. Odds are you won’t be able to completely separate yourself from the business without a few hiccups along the way. Your employees can leverage failure to learn valuable lessons that will stick with them much better if you allow things to happen and don’t try to play the role of the fixer.

Make the Changes Official

Once you have refined your systems and your staff can run the business confidently, it’s time to step away and stay away. Announce your decision to reduce your role. This will undoubtably raise some questions from customers and people who are close to the business, but you need to set expectations, so everyone knows you aren’t the go-to person anymore. Announce new promotions and roles for your staff. If you have an office at the business location, clean it out. Cancel your phone extension and remove anything that would make it easy to step back into your previous role. This can be a difficult thing to do if your business has been a main part of your identity for a long period of time, but if you have properly transitioned so it doesn’t feel so abrupt.

Long Term Benefits of Staying Away

If you are able to successfully step away from your business and allow it to run itself, you will have taken a major step toward exit planning. In the event that you decide sell your business or pass it down to a successor, you will have already done a lot of the preparation and the business will be ready for a new owner. This will also make your company much more valuable. When investors are looking to purchase a business, most of the time they are not looking for a job, but a company that can grow on its own. Buyers see businesses that depend heavily on their owners as a big risk because most of the key knowledge, expertise and effort are gone when it sells. They are looking for companies that can continue to run optimally after a change in ownership because they have a deep, knowledgeable staff and systems in place to adapt to personnel changes. Businesses like this have high growth potential and are in high demand.

You may enjoy running things, which is how you were able to build a successful business in the first place, but for your business to take its next step forward, you need to keep your distance. Stay away from the triggers that could suck you back in and allow the framework you’ve built to run your company like a well-oiled machine. If you’ve put in the time to create systems and structures to support your business and nurture your key employees, it will be able to support you and continue to grow.

If you own a business in the Sarasota, Fort Myers, or Naples areas that you are considering selling, learning how to get it to run without you is one of the first big steps you can take. Corporate Investment Business Brokers (CIBB) works with local entrepreneurs in Southwest Florida not only to sell their businesses, but to prepare for their eventual exit, sometimes years in advance. We have the experience, expertise, and support systems you require to sell a business successfully and reach your financial goals. Our pre-sale advisory services are free and begin with a business valuation estimate. Contact us to learn more.

Looking to Sell a Business?

Complete the form below to find out what it’s worth with a FREE, no-obligation, 100% confidential business valuation estimate.