So, how long would your business be able to survive if you just POOF, disappeared? One day? One week? One month?
If your answer is anything but “it would survive forever without me” then you’re in the right spot!
We all started our own business so we could be our own boss, have the freedom and make more money! Yet, it rarely works out that way at first.
But why? Because before you know it, you’re running around trying to keep every ball in the air, put out fires, keep the ship afloat and you’re only goal is to make it to the end of the day with your business still in tact.
That’s no way to live (or run a business).
If your business needs you to survive on a day-to-day basis, then I’m here to be the bearer of bad news…your business isn’t worth anything. All you really have is a very stressful job that nobody would want to buy.
After all, that’s everyone’s end goal with their business…to cash in on the blood, sweat and tears that they put in over the years with a nice, fat check from somebody who just bought your business.
But put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. Would you want to buy a business that would require you to jump in the fire, day 1 and work your face off?
I know I wouldn’t want to buy an asset that requires all of that work. I rather buy a different revenue producing asset such as real estate, stocks or bonds…where I don’t have to do much work and my money works for me.
But don’t fret just yet, there’s hope! And I have a game plan for you to flip the script and go from having your business own you, to you owning your business and having it work for you.
I was there once before. Rewind about five years ago as I finally had enough of the corporate world, quit my job and started my own business. I invested in my first service-based franchise to run golf and tennis programs for kids. It was great! I was finally able to combine my biggest passions…business, sports and kids. Oh and being able to work from home with no boss was pretty sweet too!
Business started to take off and before I knew it I was working like a mad man, trying to be Superman and being in total control.
Until one day, I stopped and asked myself, “What am I doing? This is not sustainable, what if I got hit by a bus?” The answer, as you can imagine was not pretty.
If I just disappeared, I would be doing a total disservice to so many people, mainly my wife, employees and customers. The business would collapse, my wife wouldn’t know what to do with it, my employees would be out of jobs and my customers would be hung out to dry.
I had to do something different, starting immediately. So I did!
And that’s why we’re here today with The Ultimate Guide to Putting ANY Business on Auto-Pilot (so you can work less, make more and re-gain your FREEDOM)…which basically means your business can survive without you ?
When that’s the case, your earning potential is no longer capped by how many hours you can work, your business continues to cruise along no matter where you are…AND if you ever want to sell your business, somebody would actually buy it!
I know because I did it myself. After running that business for four years, I decided to see what I could sell it for. Believe it or not, with the processes, systems and people that I put in place after my epiphany, I was able to sell it for 3x net profit…within a week!
Not too shabby for four years work as the business was making about $100k my last full year in operation.
Anyway, back to why we’re here! Without further adieu, here’s how to make it happen:
Before making any crazy moves, you first have to evaluate yourself, your business and your life. As Jim Rohn once said:
“Human beings are the only creatures who have the ability to write down their goals and design their future. And here is why most of us don’t. We’re trapped either by regret of the past or the routine of the present.”
So many business owners are trapped in the routine of the present as we’re always in survival mode. Well, in order to get to where we want to go, that has to change. So ask yourself:
- Where are you?
- Where you do want to go?
- How are you going to get there?
Simple, yet effective. Envision your business and life two years from now, what does it look like? Write it down, NOW!
How much money are you making? What’s your business doing? Who do you have in place to run your business? Are you traveling all over the world? Are you hanging out with the family and having fun?
With that written down, how are you going to get there? Break it down in 6 month increments…in order to get there in two years, where do you need to be in 18 months? 12 months? 6 months?
Easy enough. So if you know where you want to be in 6 months, where do you need to be in 3 months? 1 month?
We’re working backwards to figure out our game plan!
So if you can start to visualize (by writing down) your game plan to get to where you want to go, you might be freaking out and wondering how can I accomplish all of these things AND how can I stop doing everything so my business thrives without me.
In the MOST simplest way possible, here’s my advice. EVERY task that you do, from the most complex to the easiest thing you could do in your sleep, your thought pattern should be:
- Delegate or Automate
Make sense? We’ll dive in a little further…but before we do, you need to start thinking of EVERY task that you do and start writing them down…and keep writing…and keep writing. Cool?
Once you’ve written down everything you do, then start thinking PDDA:
Perfect – In order for you to eventually delegate or automate, you first need to perfect the process (for now…it can be improved later). Do it the same way every time…make it repeatable so that anyone could do it that way.
Document – Okay, now that it’s perfected, you need to document how you do it. To make this as efficient as possible, don’t just go document it…wait until you have to do that task again and then document it WHILE doing it. Why are we documenting it? So we don’t have to do it anymore!
Delegate or Automate – My two favorite words ? With so much technology at our fingertips, so many things can be automated now. If you’re not sure if it can be automated, “google it!” If there is no automation solution, it’s time to start delegating…one task at a time. Find someone (on your staff or new hire) to take on this additional work. Even if you only need them for 1-2 hours per day to start, that’s 5-10 hours per week that frees you up! As you continue this process, they’ll pick up more work for a lot cheaper than what it costs you to do it. You’re the business owner, your time should be worth several $100 per hour!
Time is the most valuable asset in the world…you can never get it back. You can always get more money but you can’t get more time. Cherish your time and realize how valuable your time is. When you start to shift your mindset around this and start to automate and delegate, it will allow for two things to happen:
- Your business can begin to thrive without you…giving you more freedom and time.
- You’ll have time to spend ON your business which means being a leader and spending your time on revenue generating activities (i.e. quality control, sales, marketing, etc.) so your business can actually grow.
Okay, so hopefully this is starting to make sense! And hopefully, you’ve been writing like a mad man (or woman) as we go along. We could go on for hours on the Evaluation portion of this, but I think we just went over how valuable your TIME is so onward and upward!
BUILD A FOUNDATION
Now that we’ve figured out where we are, where we want to go and how we’re going to get there and have PDDA stuck in our brain, it’s time to build the foundation in order to support future growth as well as the cozy lifestyle that is our business surviving and thriving without us.
Without a solid foundation, the house collapses and we’re all very sad and have to start over…NO FUN! So we’re not going to build some get-rich-quick scheme. We’re building a REAL business. So here we go!
It’s time to get organized! Although there are so many moving parts within a business, we should be driven by TIME and MONEY…it’s what makes the world go ’round!
You can’t manage what you can’t measure! Not everyone is like me and loves finances, numbers and all things associated with it. But unfortunately, it’s the backbone to your business. So how do we get organized with our finances?
- Your Accounting Software – If you have one, kudos! Are you comfortable with it and using it the correct way? If not, “google it” ? or ask your local CPA. If you don’t have one, I recommend Quickbooks. Check it out!
- Balancing Your Accounts – I’ve worked with one too many business owners who update and balance their accounts when they have to…which is like once or twice per year. No bueno! Create a daily routine to balance your books daily. Even if you don’t have a ton of activity, get into this habit. Why?
- As you grow, it will be more pivotal AND
- It will allow for you to begin to forecast when problems might arise so that you’re not in a position of running out of money when it could have been prevented. With every task, think PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE.
- Budgeting – Do you have a 6-12 month rolling budget? Just like above, this will allow for you to project problems before they arrive and give you time to rectify before.
- Collecting Payments – All successful businesses collect their revenue before providing the goods or services. Do you? If not, implement a comfortable transition plan to do so. Notify your customers and let them know that it’s going to improve their experience.
- Filing Taxes – Quick and simple, use a CPA!
Your Time (Calendar)
I’ve run into too many local business owners who miss appointments, show up late, double book and are just plain unorganized. Don’t be like them, do this instead:
- Electronic Calendar – Use one! Make sure that all of your devices are synced and put EVERYTHING in there. I mean EVERYTHING!
- Reminder Systems – I highly recommend a two-week calendar so you can visually see what you have going on for the next two weeks. Again, being proactive instead of reactive.
- Chart Your Tasks – Following up to your documentation process, chart all of your tasks on a 12-month calendar along with their frequency. This will make it easier to: 1) be proactive 2) delegate 3) sell your business.
- Use Technology – Whenever you think to yourself “I wish this was more efficient” or “I wish there was a tool to do XYZ” there probably is, google it!
It’s much easier to get s#*& done when you have a productive work environment…no mess, good vibes and place you can focus and ROCK!
- Implement a Filing System – If you are still old-school and have to file papers, do you have a system in place to do so? An uncluttered work area creates a much more productive worker.
- Invest – Turn your work into your ideal work zone…whether that’s dual monitors and a whiteboard, or flowers and cat, just make it ideal for YOU.
- Distracted at Home? – I hear you. Check out a co-working space; they’re popping up everywhere!
Feel better? Going to get organized? Great to hear! With that now past us, it’s time to dive further into TIME. It’s our most valuable asset and we need to maximize EVERY MINUTE of our day. How do we do that?
Your Work Day
Business owners spend so much time on tasks that are way below their pay grade just because “someone’s gotta do it!” So let’s take a look at your work day:
- Getting Started – Almost all successful people start their day EARLY. Personally, I love getting up at 5am, getting energized, setting my intentions and rocking it out by 6am. If you’re not a “morning person” try getting up 5-10 minutes earlier each day to adjust…going to bed earlier doesn’t hurt either ? Do you really need to stay up and watch one more episode on Netflix? You can do that when you’re business is running without you! Build out your morning routine and do it every day. Oh and when you wake up, your phone shouldn’t be the first thing you check. Take care of yourself first.
- Emails – UGGHHH. If your business is not email intensive, skip to #3. Otherwise, we’ve got to tackle email head on. Emails can waste HOURS each day. Start time-blocking when you read/send emails (i.e. 30 minutes every 4 hours). Lastly, avoid checking email right when you wake up…it’s not THAT important, trust me.
- The Important (yet DREADED) Tasks – As you start to time-block your day, tackle the MOST IMPORTANT tasks first every day. Don’t go for the easiest. Beat procrastination and you’ll feel so much better. Hey, even reward yourself if you get everything done early!
- Stop Wasting Time! – Humans love wasting time…we love doing anything but what we are supposed to be doing. I’ll let you in on a little secret. If we do what we are “supposed” to be doing now, then we can do WHATEVER we want later, once our business is rocking without us. Until then, avoid social media at all cost! Use a Facebook blocker plug-in. When it’s time to work, WORK!
- FREEDOM! – It’s time to start living like we WANT to live. Be sure to set aside time each day for family, friends, hobbies, meals, breaks and rest. You’ll be that much more productive when it’s time to work if you know you’ve set aside time for these things.
Attention to Detail
Besides “Google It” my #1 saying to my former team as well as how I do everything in business is “do the little things and big things will happen.” It’s a short-term investment for a long-term gain.
Let’s face it, whatever service or product that you are selling, there’s 1000’s of other businesses selling the exact same thing. So how do you differentiate yourself? The LITTLE things…attention to detail:
- Protect Your Time – Set aside extra time for each task to ensure ALL details are covered. Stop trying to fly through things.
- Don’t Like It? Delegate It! – If you’re not a big fan of the small details, do it ONCE with the small details, document it and then delegate it.
- No More Shortcuts – We’ve all been there. We do things half-ass, just to get it done. But it’s time to stop. Do it right the first time, take a few more minutes to do so and then as Ronco says “Set it and forget it!”
How efficient are you? Hopefully after just reading the last 2,700 words and putting pen to paper, you’ll be quite a bit more efficient! With that being said, we can always get more efficient. Right?
- Evaluate Your Efficiencies – Where are you efficient? Where can you improve? Be HONEST!
- Determine what tasks you are THE MOST efficient at – These will be the very first ones that you will PDDA (perfect, document, delegate or automate)
- Determine what tasks take FOREVER – Why do they take forever? Is there a tool that might be able to automate this? Or do you just HATE doing it?
- The Importance of Routines – Turn EVERY task into a routine
- Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly
- Create your routines from the perspective that someone else will eventually take over this routine task.
- Employees like routines…they know what to expect and it takes the guess-work out of it. They don’t have to think!
- Will make your day much more EFFICIENT!
- Technology is Your Friend – There are not many tasks anymore that have to be done by hand / on paper.
- Find a technology tool to automate your processes. Search:
- Chrome plug-ins
- Google It
- App Store
- Ask your employees
- Not sure? Leave a comment below of your manual tasks and I’ll be able to help!
- Find a technology tool to automate your processes. Search:
So we’ve been at this for quite a while and I know your time is valuable…I think we hit on that once or twice ?
And obviously, this is just the start of how to build your business so that it can thrive without you. Hopefully it will allow you to build a solid foundation and start putting the systems and processes in place so that you can begin to level up and CRUSH it. Even by just doing all of these things, you’ll be saving 2-4 hours per day…which is 10-20 hours per week! That’s a lot of time in your pocket to do whatever you want to do such as GROW your business!
Stay tuned for my next EPIC blog post as we take it a step further and start diving into how to put the right people in the right places so that you can work EVEN LESS!
If you’re a go-getter (and I’m guessing you are if you’ve made it this far!) then you might want to check out my FREE Training: