How Long Will Your Business Run Without You?


If you were to stop working today, how long would your business successfully run before the wheels start to fall off? Would it be a week? A fortnight? Maybe three weeks? Perhaps a month or more? The majority of small to medium sized businesses around the world typically answer one or two weeks. A key reason for starting a business is to create more freedom in the business owner’s life by putting them in control of making key decisions.

And yet, as the business grows, a range of challenges emerge which can take up more time and throw life out of balance, resulting in mostly work, and not too much play. All too soon, the business owner feels the freedom they once dreamt about is not a reality and their personal choices are diminished.

So, what is the cost of not being able to step away from your business for more than a week at a time? The cost is high. Ultimately, the price you pay will be compromised health and personal and family relationships. Not being able to take time away from your business leads to mental stress which leaves you feeling resentful and unable to make effective decisions with a clear mind.

If you are forced to take time away from the business due to illness for example, and revenue dies off, the business can face feast and famine. It is costly to run a business like this because momentum is lost, and when you come back you have to build it back up again.

Some business owners feel chained to their business. They may have some amazing ideas, however lack the time to be able to execute upon them which is an opportunity cost. The risks are enormous if you continue to run a business that cannot operate without you.

If your business relies upon you to generate sales and fulfil orders, and you are not there to provide those functions, disgruntled customers may go elsewhere. Over a short period of time revenue comes to a screeching halt. In a situation like this, your business won’t provide for you and your family at the times you most need it such as when you have a baby, are hospitalised, or suffer disability or death. These are the types of risks that investors and buyers look for when assessing a business. You can’t sell your business when you want to because you come across as desperate which may lead to a fire sale or even closure.

Owning and running a business doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, you can create a business that can thrive without you. Here are four steps to create a business that can run without you.

1. Get Professional Help:

Engage a business coach, accountant, marketing expert and other professionals as required, to gain expertise you may not have. A major factor in businesses failing is that business owners do not take advice from professionals.

2. Understand Your Money Making Model:

Having a deep understanding of how you make money is essential, so if the model doesn’t work or it’s not sustainable, it can be changed to ensure the fundamentals are in place.

3. Generate Recurring Revenues:

Consider ways your business can generate recurring revenues such as strategic clients that feed your business, monthly or annual subscription plans, or customer reordering processes.

4. Systemise Your Business:

The three pillars of business systemisation are people, process and technology. Consider how to standardise your business so you are not reinventing the fulfilment process each time. Train your team how to implement the system.

Jacqui Jones is the founder of  Way We Do, a cloud-based SOP Software, that enables business owners to create and actively use a business operations manual, including policies, procedures, work instructions and training materials that teams can access from any location, on any device.

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