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7 ways to make your business less dependent on you

This month I’ve been exploring topics related to holidays – particularly how business owners can often find it difficult to take time away from their business.  If you struggle to take a holiday, or if you find yourself worrying about the business while you’re away, these 7 tips will help ensure things run smoothly even when you’re not around:

  1. Start with short breaks from the business
    Even working from home for a day can be the start of a more balanced way of working.  You may be surprised at how much you can get done working from home, especially the longer-term thinking and planning that doesn’t usually get much of a look-in when you’re in the office.
  2. Don’t project your concerns onto your team
    The more you’re seen to fret and worry about the business coping without you, the more nervous you’ll make your team.  Express and show confidence in those who work with you.  Give them the sense that you trust them to step up when you’re not around, and they’ll feel empowered to do just that.
  3. Plan ahead
    Not everything in business life goes to plan but a lot of what you do is repeated and predictable, e.g. production schedules, invoicing, supplier deliveries and client reports.  If you’re going to be out of the office, ensure that everyone knows what will be happening while you’re away.  Assign responsibilities for certain tasks and, if necessary, either reschedule activities for when you are around or cancel them altogether.
  4. Be clear on who takes the lead when you’re away
    You may feel more confident having someone step up to ‘be in charge’ when you’re absent, and the rest of the team will benefit from the certainty of knowing who to go to if questions or issues crop up.  This is also a great time to give someone the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership credentials.
  5. Have a contingency plan for contacting you
    When you’re away from the business, there’s always a chance that something completely unexpected may happen that only you can address.  You and your team should know that it’s okay to contact you under certain (extreme) circumstances.
  6. Start delegating more tasks
    Even if you aren’t going away anytime soon, delegating is a key leadership skill for any business owner to develop.  Start to give others in the business greater responsibility for important tasks, and support and mentor them as they take on new challenges.  They’ll feel more engaged, and you’ll free up some of your own time for focusing on more valuable activities.
  7. Think about outsourcing as an additional resource
    These days, outsourcing is entirely flexible, and you can outsource a whole range of tasks on an ad-hoc basis, for just a brief period of time while you’re away, or even permanently.  Like step 6, this helps to reduce the business’s everyday reliance on you, and frees you up to focus on more value-building or strategic tasks.

A business that can function well independently of you is not only easier and more pleasurable to run, it’s also more valuable in the longer term.  So dust off your suitcase and talk to Henchards today about strategies for making your business less reliant on you – then you can head off on holiday with confidence.

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