Business owners need to determine whether their firm can survive without them in order to keep it afloat, according to a business growth consultant.
John Downes, director of the Business Development Company, says the recent departure of Apple boss Steve Jobs had a dire effect on the market, with Apple share prices falling as a result of the announcement.
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“If a business with as many employees as Apple can suffer the wobbles without its CEO, then it is a worthy exercise for all business owners to take the time to think about how their business would survive if they were to take extended leave or exit their business.”
According to Downes, too many business owners are incapable of delegating tasks to their staff, instead working excessive hours as they remain on the frontline of the business.
In doing so, Downes says business owners fall into the trap of “becoming the business”, which means their staff are ill-equipped to operate in their absence, potentially threatening the success of the business.
Downes identifies four key things business owners need to put in place in order for their business to function without them:
- A good handle of the numbers. You need to know where your money is coming from and why, and also where it is going to and why.
Most importantly, you need to know which are the key metrics that lead to a more profitable business, whether that be revenue per transaction, wastage percentage, sales to rent or conversion rates.
- Be clear with staff about their roles and your expectations. Your staff need to know what they are responsible for and what they will be held accountable for.
It is only once you understand the numbers of your business that you can share these with your staff and get them focusing on what is important.
- Staff education. Once your staff know clearly what is expected of them and what they are accountable for, you need to provide training to ensure they can perform their roles and are prepared for taking on the responsibility.
- Be consistent and disciplined. Once you have the first three points in place, you need to let your staff do their jobs and make sure you hold them accountable.
It will take discipline for you to take that step back but you must remain consistent. Even if you don’t plan on going anywhere, your business needs to be able to function without you.