Is Your Company “You Proof?”

We’ve all had a client or prospect “disappear”on us on occasion. Happens all the time and it sends us into all kinds of internal scenarios trying to figure out what happened.

I couldn’t reach a new contact recently and began to wonder what happened to him. Maybe he was no longer interested in what we had been discussing. Maybe something was going on in his business that had changed his priorities.

Well, you get the point. When a client or prospect drops off the world, you begin to wonder what happened and what you can do to pick things back up.

Then, after two weeks, I get a call from him apologizing for being out of communication since he had been on a two-week fishing excursion with his buddies. He quickly moved from a worry to being a hero.

Question: “Can you go fishing for two weeks? Maybe take your family on a two week vacation?” If not, why not?

“You-proofing” your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a company and have a life. Your business will be free to scale up because it is no longer dependent on you, its bottleneck. Best of all, it will be worth a lot more to a buyer whenever you are ready to sell. With that thought in mind, here are a five ways to get your business to run without you:

  1. Give your employees a stake in the outcome by creating an ownership culture inside your company.
  2. Create an environment of inclusion.  Ask your employees often, “what would you do if you ran the company?”
  3. Prioritize your company’s offerings by which ones require the least of your attention.  That is, revise your selling priorities towards things that sell best without you.
  4. Fire yourself as the company’s chief rainmaker by creating automated customers.
  5. Write an instruction manual on how to run your company.

Some owners focus on growing their profits, while others are obsessed with sales goals. By  making it your primary goal to set up your business so that it can thrive and grow without you, you ultimately will increase the value of your company and make life more enjoyable.

A business not dependent on its owner is the ultimate asset to own. It allows you complete control over your time so that you can choose the projects you get involved in and the vacations you take. When it comes to getting out, a business independent of its owner is worth a lot more than an owner-dependent company.



Texas Probate Court Is Not Your Best Planning Partner

It’s not often that I work with someone who is “quite a bit older” than I am; but, recently I had the privilege of working with someone who is. I’ll be really blessed when I reach his age and am as sharp and aware as he is.

But, his acute mind and obvious business success have totally missed an important element that his age should be telling him: you must do something to set your company up, and your heirs up, to be in the best position to operate your company after you’re gone. Whether “gone” means gone fishing and not involved in the business or gone as in “gone for good.” The only way I could reach him was when I told him that the State of Texas was not a wise choice of partners in his business planning. Probate is not a great option for a business leader.

Now think about this. If you are gone from the business for any reason and for an extended period of time, don’t you want it to continue? Don’t you want it to, in fact, prosper? What should you be doing now to ensure that your extended leave is not going to totally destroy the thing you’ve spent a lifetime building?

Let me be clear at this point. My associates and I are not financial planners. We are business planners and developers. We help businesses, their owners and leaders, grow. And grow seriously! This means we focus on changing the processes, the capabilities of the leaders, the culture, the marketing and sales plans and we help execute all of it for the express purpose of increasing the “enterprise value.” In short, we execute on the things that represent the “real” value of your business – not just the financials. We focus on increasing the value of your biggest asset – your company. And the best financial planner out there can’t or doesn’t do that.

So, if you’d like to avoid “partnering” with the State of Texas at some unknown future date, here’s a quick outline of what you should be doing right now:

  1. Identify who you should be raising up (training) to take your place.
    • My 80-year-old client was bemoaning the fact that his “number one” wasn’t ready to take over because he didn’t know the financials. This, as he pointed out the stack of payables sitting on his desk waiting for his approval. The telling question here? “What are you doing to teach him the financials and how you’re managing them?”
  2. Identify what processes and procedures should be simplified, modified or otherwise quantified in order to make them duplicated by the newest employee in that department.
    • By not systematizing his accounting processes, my friend was also telegraphing that there were most likely many other areas in his company that had not been systematized.
  1. Identify your key client relationships and make sure the person in charge of that relationship has introduced into that relationship a protégé  (a “second,” so to speak). This is especially important if you are that lead person.
  2. Do this same thing for your key supplier and vendor relationships.

These are just a start – but they ARE a start! Here’s an analogy that captures this whole concept:

What if tomorrow morning, you received a call from a legitimate, trusted source and they told you that you, your spouse, and your entire family had just won an all expense paid vacation for three months to do an around the world tour? The catch? You have to leave by one week from today.

How would you organize your company in that one week so that you could confidently take the trip?

(Note – from a negative side, how are you going to tell your spouse that you can’t make the trip because you can’t leave the company for that long?)

Call me – let us help you get ready for the trip . . . we know how.