Why you need to remove yourself from your business

By renae hanvin

Dec 8 2022

Many small business owners start their business because they have a passion for what they do and they love their work.

And when business owners are starting out it’s very easy to get sucked into all aspects of the business and to feel like you have to be doing, doing, doing, all the time.

Caroline Jardine from Nimmitabel Bakery has owned her business for twelve years. She says “I used to think that the more I worked in the business the more successful the business would be. If I worked all the time then I’d be saving money on wages and I’d be taking more money home.

“But it’s just not true. When you’re working in your business all the time you’re just busy doing. You’re not planning or strategising or leveraging your skills, experience and talent in the best way possible. You get stretched too thin and end up not doing anything well!”


Control your business, don’t let your business control you

As a business owner it’s important to ensure that your business can run without you – say, in the event of a personal disaster – by ensuring the right systems, people and processes are in place.

For Caroline this has meant investing in equipment to make her operations more efficient and less reliant on skilled staff, who can be hard to come by. She fosters good relationships with her staff by allowing flexible working arrangements so that they are happy to help her out when needed. She is investigating a backup power source so that her business can keep running if there is a power outage.


Take time to work on your business, not just in the business

Being able to step aside from the business occasionally is also important for mental health reasons.

Taking regular breaks from your business is an opportunity to rejuvenate and refresh and to feel mentally energised again.

We guarantee that the mental and physical break from the business day-to-day will help you to see the bigger picture and to gain clarity around your future focus. It may even inspire new ideas!

For Caroline, this has meant purchasing more bakeries in Jindabyne and Adaminaby.


Delegate, Automate and Eliminate

We find that there are three common barriers people have to delegating work. Finish this sentence:

  • If I want it done right, I have to do it—“
  • “It takes longer to explain it to somebody else. I might as well do it—”
  • “I can’t afford to do it right now. I guess I’m going to have to do it—”

We challenge you to reconsider this thinking.

If you want it done right, then you need to learn how to delegate properly and well.

While it may take you a long time to explain a task to somebody else, this is a one-time investment which means that you never have to explain the task again (or to spend the time actually undertaking the task yourself). Better still, write down a procedure for how a task should be done, so that anyone can pick up the checklist and complete the task.

Caroline says “Consider an example where you’re paying someone $30 an hour to do an administrative task. As a business owner, can you create more than $30 an hour value to your business? That might include creating a new product, exploring a different market, finding a more efficient way to do something or analysing your financial statements to know what’s working and what’s not.”

Also consider whether there are any tasks that you could automate, such as publishing your social media posts, or using an accounting system that produces and sends recurring invoices.

Finally, are there any tasks that you can just get rid of? If these tasks add no value to your business and you dislike doing them anyway, now is the perfect time to stop thinking about things that ‘should’ be done and to just let those tasks go.


Your next steps to building a resilient business

To remove yourself from the day-to-day running of your business and to increase the resilience of your enterprise, Caroline recommends taking these four steps:

  1. Schedule some dedicated time to work on your business regularly. What gets scheduled, gets done.
  2. Write down all the tasks, big or small, that you do in a typical week.
  3. Decide if there is an existing staff member, or a new person you could bring on board, who can take on any of those jobs.
  4. Write a Standard Operating Procedure for how you want that task to be done then work through that document with the person when you’re training them.