Are you sitting comfortably?
Welcome to my series of podcasts that will help you navigate some of the difficulties you might come up against when you’re a business owner. Today, I want to talk about how to build a team that can run your business even when you’re not there.
Many business owners become self-employed in the hope that one day, they’ll have more freedom and their business will be able to run without them. They envisage having enough personal and financial freedom to spend more time with their families, relaxing, and enjoying life.
Sadly, the reality for many business owners is that they end up working, answering calls, and solving problems when they take time off. This is mainly because they’re the go-to person for everything, and they’ve often positioned themselves this way.
Being able to step back and let your business run smoothly without you will only happen once you’ve got some key things in place, and the most important of these is a great team that can run things when you aren’t there.
Let’s revisit some team-building principles.
If you don’t build an effective team, it won’t be easy to get everyone pulling in the same direction without you being there to constantly give them a nudge. Here’s what you can do to build an effective team.
Firstly, look at your leadership skills. Are you effective? Can people trust your judgement? Effective leadership is not about handing out orders, it’s about building trust through openness, mutual respect, and honesty, and making balanced decisions that take into account the ideas and opinions of others. If your employees feel they trust you and your judgment, they’re more likely to continue working well for the business when you’re not around.
Next, build relationships with people. Learn about your team, their skill sets and what motivates them, and encourage them to get involved in making decisions. This will help them develop their problem-solving skills and make them feel valued. Both factors are essential if your team is ever going to be able to work independently of you.
It’s not just about your relationship with your team, it’s about your team’s relationship with each other. If team members are constantly in conflict, or they don’t communicate effectively, you won’t be so comfortable leaving them to get on with things when you’re not there. Take steps to resolve any conflicts and work with them to solve any issues that are preventing them from working effectively together.
The last important thing to do is create a set of values and goals for your team. Ask your team for their input and make it clear that these are the guidelines that everyone should abide by. This will go a long way towards showing people what you expect and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
So we’ve looked at building an effective team, but what if you as a business owner, have created many of the barriers preventing you from stepping back from your business now and again?
Let’s look at some factors that might be keeping you tied to the treadmill of your business.
You micromanage and you’re afraid to give up control: Okay, so maybe it’s true that nobody can run your business the way you do, but it’s also likely that someone could step in and take the reins now and again, and do a good job. You will find it easier to give up some control once you’ve built a trustworthy and capable team that you can delegate things to.
You wear all the hats.
Have you created a business you’re tied to because you are the only person who can complete every task? You can change this situation by developing employees who are competent and have the right attitude, and aptitude, to complete important tasks.
You haven’t quite mastered delegation: If you are used to being in control, it can be difficult to trust other people to complete tasks to your standard. Effective delegation can give you freedom and it can also empower your team. How will your business ever run without you if you don’t show your team that you have faith in them to complete tasks without your input?
If you just recognised yourself as a die-hard micromanager, don’t worry, because there are things that you can do to prepare your team, and your business, to one day be able to keep going even when you’re not there.
The first thing is don’t sit on peoples’ shoulders. You employ people to do a job, so let them do it! If you show people that you trust them to get on with things, they’ll feel valued and empowered, but if you’re constantly ‘supervising’ them, they’re more likely to lose the belief that they can work independently, and come to you with questions and problems they could probably find the answer to on their own.
Next, learn to delegate.
This is important. Write down the tasks that you do and look at how many could be delegated. As a business owner, you should only be doing the important strategic tasks that only you can do. If you’re busying yourself with the day-to-day non-essential jobs, you’ll never be able to take a step back from the business. Delegating tasks to employees can help develop their skills and make them feel more valued. Remember however that effective delegation is not about delegating jobs that you just don’t want to do, as this is not likely to go down well with your team.
It’s important too that you’re self-aware.
You might see yourself as a strong leader, but sometimes that dominance or desire to step in and fix things is what keeps you trapped in running every single aspect of your business. Recognise when this is happening, and learn to take a step back. Trust employees to complete tasks and to figure things out for themselves.
Lastly, test the water. Take a short break to see how your business runs without you. Let people know you are going to be unavailable and keep to your word, even though it’s hard. That way, when you return, you can look at any issues and problems that cropped up and you can put solutions in place to solve them.
Are you a business owner who envisages your business working like a well-oiled machine with employees who you can trust to keep things going in your absence? Do you want your business to be able to support itself so you can reap the benefits and enjoy more balance in your life? Do you want to oversee the business and not have to deal with all of the hassle?
Is this the dream that feels like a step too far right now?
It doesn’t have to be. I can help.
My tailored packages and bitesize workshops can help you and your team feel more supported, confident, and energised about the future of the business.
Working with you as the business owner, I can get a feel for your business vision and strategy, assess your growth potential, and harness the skills and experience of your employees to help develop your business. By working with your employees I can help them feel valued, get their input on ideas and improvements for your business, and make them feel like part of a big family, all working towards business success.
Imagine how your life will be once you’ve had my help. You will be able to rely more on your employees to keep taking your business forward with less of your input. Your employees will be more passionate, they’ll want to work towards common goals, and most importantly, they’ll want to stay. Instead of worrying about how secure your business will be if you take a step back, you’ll have every confidence that your business will continue to grow and your future will look more promising every day.
Why choose me?
I have empathy. I understand how daunting it can be to change how your business runs. I know exactly how it feels.
I have the expertise you need. I have a Level 7 Professional Consultant diploma from the Chartered Institute of Management and over 30 years of experience in leading change and continuous improvement, so I am perfectly placed to be able to implement the tools and processes that will help your business grow and make sure that your future, as well as your present, is a lot happier and more comfortable. I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, and one of the most important is that no problem is insurmountable when you have the right help and support.
Book a call to find out exactly how I can help you.