How To Build A Business That Can Run Without You

How To Build A Business That Can Run Without You

 

Do you work for your business, or does your business work for you?

If you aren’t sure, ask yourself this:

“If I decided to step away from my business for a day…or a week…or even a month, with little to no involvement, what would happen?”

Would your business still thrive, would it merely survive, or would it suffer a catastrophic failure?

I bring this up because I know how challenging it is to remove yourself from the day-to-day operations of your business while still ensuring it runs successfully.

“But why would I want to remove myself from daily operations?” you might be wondering. After all, you’ve created your brand and company from scratch through non-stop tireless hard work, often for wages you’d never consider if you were doing this for someone else, and you’ve poured your heart and soul into it. Part of the reward is being identified with your business, and perhaps you love managing daily operations. So why would you want to remove yourself?

Well, maybe you don’t. Maybe you enjoy the daily grind of keeping the ship afloat and micromanaging all aspects of your business. But if you want to turn it into something that supports a lifestyle of true freedom and satisfaction, then keep reading because that’s exactly what I’m going to explain.

Let’s begin.

Identify Your True Goals

In his best-selling book, The Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss describes his plan to free himself of the mundane and focus on becoming “The New Rich:” someone who values time, experience and travel more than money. This resonated with me the instant I read it.

So, the first step to making your business work for you is to identify what your true goals are.

After studying The Four Hour Work Week, I made a very conscious decision that I was going to adapt and create my own version of a scaled and automated “nirvana” and make it so my current business, and all future businesses, would support the life I desired.

During the process of uncovering my true goals, I learned that I am far more creative and productive when I “play.”  

You see, many people look at the life I have set up and think that I don’t work or I’m retired and travel a lot. But those who know me better have a different view; I actually work nonstop (my mind is always thinking) and I’m most creative when engaged in activities that free my mind. This realization alone helped me commit to an outward-looking “life of leisure” and create room and space for me to grow.

By prioritizing long-term influence over short-term revenue, I have created a multi-business framework that supports itself by taking revenue from my established businesses to seed the creative and money-draining start-up projects.

This process has spawned many great ideas and encouraged me to seek inward truth rather than external validation, which has been extremely rewarding.

Become Redundant and Replaceable

Ferriss’ plan of outsourcing everything sounds wildly ambitious and unattainable for most (and likely is), but what about for an entrepreneur who really takes charge of his destiny? Is it achievable? Let’s find out.

As I mentioned earlier, many businesses rely heavily on the owner for daily operations. Maybe clients are used to speaking directly to the owner for price quotes, or employees seek answers from the boss instead of being empowered to solve problems themselves.

In order for your business to work for you, you need to make yourself redundant and replaceable. That sounds a little strange, but hear me out.

Before starting my first company, I was Co-Head of Investments at a four billion dollar hedge fund. We had all sorts of infrastructure and redundancies and disaster recovery plans in place. We worked hard to make each other redundant and replaceable to mitigate what’s known as “Key Man Risk.”

At banks all over the world, they force an extended two-week consecutive vacation on key personnel to ensure there is no fraud or “hidden tickets” or problems that any one individual can cause to the system.  

But when you run a small entrepreneurial venture, who is the backup? What is Plan B? How instrumental is the owner/founder/CEO to the daily machine?

The more you can train and empower your team to perform the business’s essential daily functions without your micromanagement, the closer you’ll get to being able to enjoy a lifestyle business.

Take Advantage of Tech Tools

I have basically committed myself to only doing things:

  • I want to do
  • I am uniquely qualified to do

Those two things require me to:

  • Create repeatable and scalable support infrastructure to run the daily operations.

How am I doing all of this?  

First and foremost, I have had the great fortune to meet and lead some amazing teammates, and I could never do this without them.

Second, I’ve embraced innovation and current technology to create a decentralized collaborative structure. I have put to rest more traditional work norms such as working hours, geography, headquarters, etc.

My entire team works remotely from me. I did away with corporate headquarters, just like WordPress recently did (because nobody was showing up to their offices), and instead have a couple of key employees in a WeWork while everyone else works from home all over the world.  

Currently I have employees and freelancers working in: USA, Canada, India, Pakistan, Australia, and the Philippines.

We work using tools like Slack and Facebook Instant Messenger, and the development team relies on Basecamp and Jira.

Together, we run several businesses, including: a worldwide high-end executive transportation company, an online education platform on how to grow an Airbnb business, and a Saas company for the transportation industry. We also manage my portfolio of real estate rental properties listed on sites like Airbnb and Homeaway.

How Well Does This Structure Work?

In order to test how (un)important I am to this machine, I am going on an epic 55-day journey, starting July 5th, 2017, and will work remotely from 6 different countries on two continents so I can discover exactly how robust my infrastructure really is.  

This article was written by Richard Fertig from Forbes.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever. Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank.