You should be working very hard to build your business into something great and make yourself irrelevant in the process.
The 4 part strategy is simple:
1. Have a big vision and, make it worthy of your time and effort. And more importantly your staffs time and effort.
2. Bring great people with varied skill sets and experiences onboard. Make sure they speak their mind.
3. Let them do what they do best and are most passionate about. We all have a superpower and at our core we know what it is. This is usually accompanied by a deep desire to unleash it to its' fullest potential.
4. Create a desirable inclusive atmosphere that great people want to be a part of.
If you succeed, they will thrive and likely take the company much further than you ever could on my own.
So what should irrelevant mean to you in the context of growing your company? Right now and for the foreseeable future you will maintain the vision and lead the charge. As you are getting ready to transition, slowly replace your superpowers with others who demonstrate the same abilities and let them take over.
The same applies to any of your key staff who will be leaving within a few years. Investors, Partners or Buyers will interview your employees and they will find out who is staying and who is going. Start training their replacements now.
At some point you will become redundant, irrelevant and unnecessary to managing and growing the business. You will then have succeeded.
The business operating without you is a key factor to your piece of mind should you retire and not sell. Or if next generation family come into the company to take over and run it. They will need a runway to learn the ropes.
When Buyers are considering purchasing your company. It means they can step in and immediately take over.
It's not easy and requires some real grit on your part. While many day-to-day functional activities are taken care of by staff there are still top level decisions that always seem to fall into your lap. No this is not by fluke it is by design, your design. The desire to be relevant and important to the process.
There is a reason that some of you have kept your business running at a particular sales level for years. It's not always because opportunities have dried up. Nor is it the new developments within your industry. It's because there is a comfort in working in a particular sized business.
You found your comfort zone and staying there is well, more comfortable. Typically an Owner will keep a successful business just under $3 million around $2.6 million in annual sales. Or in many cases under $1 million or under $2 million. You've created what is often referred to as lifestyle business. i.e. your lifestyle
I know it sounds counter intuitive since you spent the last few decades making most of the key decisions, creating and massaging the vision, leading the sales and generally driving the business to its' current success.
It won't be easy to give up the responsibilities and let go. But the Owner who has done this typically finds that among the many factors used by Buyers to make a purchase decision, this one is key. Some day you will be considering selling.
Put yourself in the Buyers seat. You do the transaction and suddenly you get hit by a bus. Or there is a falling out and you refuse to continue the transition relationship. You don't agree with a change they're making and your instinct is to fight it or worse sabotage the change. If the Buyer is dependent upon one or two people to determine the fate of the business post sale, they're highly unlikely to move forward with a purchase.
You can say it won't happen all you want, but when one is dealing with real money and time invested in the success of a venture they want all the right cards in their hand.
So become irrelevant personally, to the point where you become incredibly desirable as a company to purchase or partner with.
Exercise - Task
Step 1 is to be clear on your superpowers.
Step 2 is to determine who the best replacement might be. Look inside your business and outside.
Step 3 is to identify the current staff with other superpowers the company needs to thrive. And their replacements. Because you never know who will leave or when. Or be promoted.
My superpowers and replacements are:
1. Power Replacement
2. Power Replacement
3. Power Replacement
4. Power Replacement
Other currently existing superpowers within the company and their replacements are:
1. Name/Power Replacement
2. Name/Power Replacement
3. Name/Power Replacement
4. Name/Power Replacement
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