It’s a question that no doubt enters the mind of every business owner and entrepreneur at least once in their life: how would my business run without me?
For athlete, author and motivational speaker Turia Pitt, the answer lies in meticulous planning and clearly articulated structures and processes (some of which took months to develop).
Pitt is expecting her second child this month, but before officially commencing maternity leave, she took time to blog about exactly how her eponymous business will operate while she takes a step back — in the hope her preparations will help other entrepreneurs who may be preparing to take a break from their businesses.
“I personally love it when other people share the behind-the-scenes stuff about their business,” she wrote.
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“A little transparency is a good thing I reckon.”
Pitt formally started her business, which encapsulates public speaking, coaching and workshops, in 2015. Today she employs a team of five, all of whom work remotely.
She is planning to be on leave until May — although she will be doing some work in March and April for a new project with BSchool.
So how did Pitt and her team prepare the business so it can keep operating smoothly while she is on leave?
First, they planned their content… for the rest of the year.
“Back in August, my 2IC [second-in-charge] and I sat down for three days and mapped out all the content I wanted to share with you in these letters, in my blog posts and around my product launches for the rest of the year,” Pitt explained.
“Normally we only plan about a month in advance, so planning out a whole year of content was pretty intense, to say the least (we’ve worked together for five years now but we needed several private ‘coffee breaks’ to get through the process).
But, Pitt said, these intense sessions were worth it.
“I like that there’s more thought and planning behind the stuff I share with you. It doesn’t mean I can’t be reactionary or write about what I want on certain days, it just means that the pressure’s off.
“We’ll keep this system moving forward.”
This is very cool! Not just for maternity leave but for anyone who wants to run a business with less stress and reliance on the Founder! https://t.co/l7x3Ik6iCP
— Nicky Williamson ????✈️????✈️???? (@NickyWill100) February 1, 2020
Secondly, Pitt and her team recorded all the video content they would need while she was away. The entrepreneur is set to become an affiliate of Marie Forleo’s BSchool this month, and because she won’t be able to film videos while in hospital, Pitt and team completed all of this work back in October.
A key part of any business is maintaining momentum for current projects and so Pitt decided to manage this by scheduling weekly work-in-progress meetings with her team in the lead up to her commencing leave. She also assigned point people for all major projects so they can keep driving them forward.
Likewise, Pitt also needed to create a process for any business activities that would need her approval.
“Anything that needs to be seen by me (for e.g. photos from a shoot) will all come through one team member — that way I’ll avoid my inbox getting cluttered with lots of different emails, and miscommunication will be minimised,” she explained.
And finally, Pitt said she “went overboard for six months on creating process documents — basically ‘How To’ guides for all parts of my business”.
“So for example, if you’re trying to get in touch with a team member, what do you do,” said wrote.
“Some of us would call, some of us would text, some of us would send an email. But in a remote team, when everyone does something differently, and in a different context, it can create confusion, miscommunication and inefficiency.”
Pitt admitted she took this part of the planning process “to an extreme”.
“To the extent that there’s a process document on how to use a process document,” she quipped.
For more details about how Pitt runs her business (when she’s on leave, or not), she’s made a free guide about all the systems and tools her team uses available here.