In the Trenches: Reducing Dependence on Me
I've been on two trips in the past week, and I'm tired. Every time I travel, it reminds me how important it is to get the business to a point where it can run without me. I'm just not there yet.
I imagine if you start a business with a partner, you naturally have someone else you can trust to share in the knowledge of how the business runs along with the workload. But when you start a business yourself, too much of the knowledge automatically resides with you. I know that one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to do is let go of their baby, but I'm over that. It's been a year and a half and the idea of having someone else who can step in while I sip fruity drinks on Maui seems like a dream.
Of course, that's easier said than done. Finding someone else with similar skills just provides a backup and doesn't add much benefit for the business. So the key is finding someone with other areas of expertise who still has enough overlapping skills to be able to fill in from time to time when I need a break or when I'm on the road.
Identifying that person might be hard, but then actually doing something about it will be even tougher. This business isn't printing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, so there isn't a ton of money to go throwing around right now. It takes a very specific kind of person to have these skills and be willing to come in with little pay on the table. That person would have to take the chance that future growth will provide a payoff. Not a lot of people want to do that, especially not when they have to pour in a lot of their time as well.
I assume this is why a lot of businesses have trouble getting beyond the tiny stage. The founders work themselves to the bone and then fail to get to a long term sustainable level before they burn out and give up. I'm nowhere near that point myself, but it does weigh heavily as something that I need to resolve sooner rather than later so it doesn't become an issue.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.