How to Make Your Business Run Itself
Deciding to go into business for yourself can mean working hellishly long hours, investing huge sums of money you may never see again, and spending more time wooing potential partners and customers than you spend with your own family.
But on the bright side, once you bring your operation into the black, if you’re smart you can automate your entire business and watch the money roll in while you spend your days relaxing on the beach. Here’s how.
Outsource the non-essentials. Trying to take on too many different roles is the bane of every CEO’s existence. Pare down your company by outsourcing jobs that aren’t your company’s primary focus. For instance, if you sell mail-order products and you’ve been doing all of the packaging and shipping in-house, look for another company that can handle that task. Chances are, you’ll end up paying less, and the hassle factor will drop substantially.
Focus on accountability. As a business owner, you never want to be in a position where you don’t know what’s happening with your company — even if you’re on the other side of the world. While you’re still at the office, begin implementing procedures that will hold your staff accountable for their day-to-day tasks, such as requiring employees to track their work through collaborative online project management software and holding weekly conference calls. When you do go on vacation or pull back from the company, you’ll be able to rely on these procedures to stay up-to-date on the company’s health.
Automate as many tasks as possible. Take advantage of technology to automate tasks that don’t need a human brain behind them. You can use software tools to manage simple items like social media posting, product delivery, scheduling appointments, and data extraction. If you’re not sure what’s possible, speak with a consultant in your field to find out how to streamline your company’s work processes.
Invest in training. When hiring employees, experience isn’t always the most important factor: In order to step away from your business, you’ll need people who are willing and able to follow your lead and take the reins. Hire wisely, then spend ample time teaching your staff how to do things according to your plans. Shell out for training programs, conferences, and other career education tools that will help your employees become more skilled and efficient. When you feel ready to step away from day-to-day operations, you need staff members who can step right in without pestering you all day long.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.