There is no better way to evaluate how your company performs without you than by taking a vacation. The better your company runs on autopilot, the more valuable it will be when you are ready to sell.
A recent survey by The Value Builder System™ found companies that perform well without their owner for a period of three months are 50% more likely to get an acquisition offer compared to more owner-dependent businesses.
Begin by taking a short vacation to test your company’s ability to handle your absence. Leave your computer at home and switch off your cellphone. When you return, you will likely find that your employees have been resourceful and self-sustaining. That’s a good thing and a sign you should start planning an even longer vacation.
It’s possible you’ll come back to an inbox full of issues that need your personal attention. Instead of scrambling to address each problem immediately, take a step back and consider how each issue came about. Was it a people problem? A systems problem? A problem with authorizations? Develop a plan to eliminate these issues by design.
Assess if the problem is something that can be handled by your people by asking:
- Why did this problem end up on my desk?
- Is there anyone else that can address this issue?
- If yes, why were they not consulted?
- If no, who can be trained to address this issue in the future?
Next, look at your systems and procedures. Can the issue be solved by a new system or procedure? The best systems are documented and do not require human interpretation. If you are unable to lock down a technical fix, then give employees a set of rules to follow in the future.
Finally, consider if you need to give your employees more freedom to make decisions. If you’re trying to keep an iron fist on spending, you may be the bottleneck in your own company. Employees may know what to do to address the problem but may not feel empowered to spend the money for the fix.
Giving employees a spending budget that they can use to resolve issues as they see fit can greatly reduce the number of problems that end up on your desk. For example, you could implement a customer service rule that gives your front-line staff the authority to make a customer happy in any way they see fit provided it could be done for under $100.
You might allow an employee to spend a specific amount with a specific supplier each month without coming to you first. Or you might give an employee an annual budget, an amount they can spend without seeking your approval each year.
The Bottom Line
Given the fires that may need to be extinguished after the fact, taking a holiday may seem more of a hassle than it’s worth. But if you transform the aftermath of a vacation into systems and training that empower employees to act on their own, you’ll find the vacation is worth what you paid for it many times over. Your company will increase in value as it becomes less dependent on you personally.
Do you own a business you could sell? Find out by taking the Value Builder Score™ questionnaire.