Some owners focus on growing their profits, while others are obsessed with  sales goals. Have you ever considered making it your primary goal to set up your business so that it’s more fun to run AND can grow without you?  

So why let go of the reins and stop bottlenecking your business?  When your business doesn’t depend on you, it is the ultimate asset to own.  It allows you complete control over your time.  This means you can choose the projects you get involved in.  It also means you can choose the vacations you take.  If it comes to getting out, a business that can run without you is worth a lot more.


Here are five ways to create a business that’s more fun to run:


1.  Give Your Team A Stake In The Outcome  

Jack Stack, the author of The Great Game of Business and A Stake In The  Outcome wrote the book on creating an ownership culture inside your  company.  This happens when you are transparent about your financial results, and when you allow employees to participate in your financial success.  This results in  employees who act like owners when you’re not around.

Check out this case study on one company that did just that through share ownership.  The results showed that employee share ownership offered many benefits for both employee and employer.  It provided increased job satisfaction and commitment.  It also simultaneously improving their performance and level of motivation.

While you don’t need to offer share ownership to give your team a stake in the outcome, you should empower them in a tangible way.  They will make better decisions without having to run everything by you.  This allows you to stop bottlenecking your business!  Most importantly, it gives your employees the opportunity to both contribute to and benefit from your business’ success.  When your employees are excited about your business’ goals and successes, you’ll have more fun running the business!


three women sitting at a table, two have their back to us and one is facing us. they all look deep in discussion

2.  Get Your Team To Walk In Your Shoes

If you’re not quite comfortable opening up the books to your employees,  consider this simple management technique instead.  Whenever your staff bring a question to you, respond with the same answer, “If you owned the business, what would you do?”  

This forces your team to walk in your shoes.  It will also get them thinking about their question as you would, which builds the habit of starting to think like an owner. Pretty soon, employees  are able to solve their own problems.

How does this make your business more fun to run?  You can expect fewer emergency calls and emails, less backlog on tasks and communications, stronger leadership skills within your team, and more confidence throughout the business.


3.  Vet Your Offerings

Identify the products and services which require your personal  involvement in either making, delivering or selling them. Here is how to do so:  Make a list of  everything you sell.  Then, score each offering on a scale of 0 to 10.  This scale will rate how easy they are to teach an employee to handle.

Assign a 10 to offerings that are easy to teach employees, and give a lower score to anything that requires your personal attention. Commit to stopping the sale of your lowest scoring product or service.  Repeat this exercise every quarter.

Check out this example of a photography business rating its services this way…

Chart showing a photography business ranking weddings, corporate events, baseball teams, and school photos in teachability and repeatability

When you train your employees on repeatable tasks, you’re accomplishing multiple goals.  You are removing yourself as the bottleneck in your company, so that you don’t have to perform every task or service.  You are creating a business that is scalable, because other people can do the work you’re doing.  You are also growing the value of your business because it will be able to run and generate revenue without you.

4.  Create Automatic Customers


Are you the business’ best salesperson? If so, you’ll need to fire yourself.  If you’re the best salesperson, we would call you a “rainmaker” aka bottleneck.  However, your business cannot run without its rainmaker.  It will never be independent of you if you don’t train new salespeople or find a different way to make sales.

One  way to do this is to create a recurring revenue business model.  This means that customers buy from you automatically.  If you have a service-based business, create a service contract with your customers that offers to fulfill one of their ongoing  needs on a regular basis.  Check out some other examples of how service-based businesses could offer recurring services for inspiration.

5.  Write An Instruction Manual For Your Business

Finally, make sure your company comes with instructions included. Write an employee manual or what MBA-types called Standard Operating  Procedures (SOPs). Here’s a great eBook to help you write them.

SOPs are a set of rules employees can follow for repetitive tasks in your company. This will ensure employees have a  rulebook they can follow when you’re not around.  Additionally, when an employee  leaves, you can quickly swap them out with a replacement to take on duties of the job.  This means that neither you nor a key employee is bottlenecking your business.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of writing instructions, try this instead.  When you find yourself doing a task that you’ve identified as repeatable, take a moment to note how you’re doing it.  Write down what it is, the steps you’re taking to accomplish it, and any troubleshooting you’ve done along the way.  It doesn’t have to be perfect right away!  You may end up refining the instructions as you’re training your first few team members.  The important part is that you begin to take steps in training your team to support business processes.


Four people in business professional outfits, we see their arms linked by each person holding another's wrist, creating a knot form above a table covered in papers


The bottom line is that if your business depends on you, you’re bottlenecking its growth.  You-proofing your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a  company and have a life. Your business will be free to scale up beyond your limitations.  By reclaiming your time, you will also have the opportunity to invest in other passion projects and business ideas.  Best of all, your business will be worth a lot more to  a buyer whenever you are ready to sell.


Thinking Time

What is our current internal sales training process?  What does a first class training process look like?