In his book, “Built To Sell”, author John Warrillow talks about eight key drivers that make any business attractive to a potential buyer. Not everyone reading this may be looking to sell their business. However, the points made by the author are relevant to any business that wants to be primed for growth.
One of the drivers that the author mentions is “Switzerland Structure” – that is establishing a neutrality of operations where the business is not overly dependent on any one employee, client or manufacturer. Here, the “employee” includes you, the owner of the business. Unless you are in a position to make your business run without you, the startup is never truly scalable.
There are several steps that you must take to set up a business that can run without you. Here are a few that can be crucial.
Automating your business
A lot of business operations can essentially be broken down into a step-by-step process. When this is done, it is possible to create automation rules that can handle these operations without a lot of human intervention.
Take the example of your sales process. In a typical setup, SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) in your organization pull out a prospective list of clients from various third-party sources, pull out their email address, verify them and finally reach out to them over email. Usually, these SDRs send multiple follow-ups before hearing from prospects. The process of extracting a list and sending out emails and follow-ups can take several hours every week.
Automating this step could bring down the time spent on outreach dramatically. Make use of tools like Zapier that ties up with the APIs offered by the lead databases, email validation services and email delivery tools to automate the process of pulling contacts from third party databases, verifying them, and sending out emails at predefined intervals.
If you run an online business, you may already have been working on building an email list that you send newsletters to. This process of capturing email addresses and sending newsletters can also be easily replaced with email automation.
Document every step of your business
Hiring can have a huge impact in the way you run business. The right employees can allow you to not worry about the daily grind and can thus allow you to think of the big picture and plan for the long-term. However, most small businesses struggle with finding the right people to hire. The reason for this is more often poor onboarding practices rather than the quality of the employees themselves.
Documenting every step of your business process can thus be crucial. Giving employees a template to follow in their new role can make a big difference in their productivity and output.
The good thing is that you do not have to work on this actively. Invest in a knowledge base software that can be populated over time from customer support queries. Also, create a Wiki for internal use that is populated with information shared over emails with clients, vendors and other stakeholders. This information can be used by new employees looking to understand workflows, processes and other pieces of information that their role demands.
Move your company virtual
Making your business run without you does not necessarily mean taking yourself off completely. You may still be required for a few hours each week to guide and motivate your team. For this, establishing a good virtual office infrastructure is vital since this allows you to log in without having to physically be there with your team. This also allows anyone in the team to run their tasks without having to be physically present.
Make use of online collaboration tools to run various projects since this allows employees and yourself to log in from anywhere to check on the status. Invest in good video conferencing applications to conduct daily or weekly standup meetings. This way, people can still see each other and this is proven to be very effective in keeping morale high among team members.
A good virtual office infrastructure also includes time tracking tools, real-time messaging tools and Office suites that can effectively move the entire operations to the cloud. This is important even if your business has a storefront or employees on the field since it allows the business owner to take stock of daily operations without having to be actively involved.
Taking yourself off the daily operations of your business can be a daunting task in the early stages. However, it’s a vital step to take in order to grow your business to greater heights.