The Joy of Running an Independent Company

The Joy of Running an Independent Company

I wasn't being strategic, I was going through a divorce!

My friend (who owns an International SME that is globally renown in its specific business) was explaining to me how and why he was able to transform his business into an independent asset.  An asset that thrives without his daily involvement. An asset that is growing in value and which is allowing him to enhance his lifestyle while spending more time with his family.

“Before my divorce, I was micromanaging and involved in every aspect of the business. The hours were brutal and the business felt it had plateaued.”

My friend (who I will call John to protect his privacy) was in a trap that many business owners find themselves. A trap where everything relies upon them, every decision, every purchase, every customer complaint. The owner cannot turn over the reins to the staff because he feels they could easily screw up and run the company into the ground.

After all, you wouldn’t take a child riding a bike with training wheels and suddenly put them on a Harley to drive on their own.

My friend had no choice, during the divorce he had to step back and allow his employees to dive in and either swim or sink – themselves and perhaps the company.

I was lucky.  Without consciously planning for it, I ended up hiring excellent people who I was able to put in charge of major areas of the day-to-day business.  They took on the challenge and ran with it.

As John went through his divorce, his employees took the day to day grind of the business off his shoulders. John changed his focus to one of overall strategic leadership, rain maker, and only involved himself with the most complicated and/or significant matters (pretty much the only ones business owners should be handling).

As a result, John’s now independent company not only survived, but grew during COVID.  With clarity of sight, he was able to scale the company services so that he could capture high margin business that offset any pricing pressures on other aspects of the business.

Most importantly, following the divorce and having majority custody of his children, John was able to transform his business from “a Job” to a growing independent company asset. This asset has freed his time so he can do the school runs and have dinner with his children every evening.  In addition, he has also been able to travel with his children and spend the quality time that cannot be valued or regained once lost.

“I spend only 3 – 4 hours a day on my business. I do not get distracted anymore by the stupid details. I have a great team that takes care of that burden and I can fully concentrate on growing the business and capturing major successes. I have no doubt that if I kept running the business likes I used to before the divorce, the business and my situation would have been far different. Many of those opportunities I would have missed as I would have been buried in non-important stuff.”

From a Business value point of view, John has a very valuable Asset. An Independent Company that fulfills its purpose – supporting the life he wants for himself and his family. His company is the global leader in a niche and John is seen as an expert in his field. 

Most importantly, John’s company can thrive without him. Why is that significant?  Two reasons: 

As John admitted he was lucky in terms of the staff he hired.  Often divorces can lead to the breakup or dissolution of the company, which was a fate John was able to avoid.

As a business owner you should not rely upon luck. If you want to build an independent business that can thrive without you, some steps you can take include:

  • Identifying and grooming a proper 2nd in command and/or manager(s) to take on the day to day management of the company.
  • Creation and documentation of the different operating processes so that most can be automated or at least be easily taught to employees.
  • Gradual delegation of responsibility to your staff – empowering them to think and make the decisions like the boss and training and or developing as necessary to get the right people in the right places.

Most SME owners will not have the luxury of choice John has in regards to future exit and cashing out.  Most will not properly prepare and so will face only one choice – shut the doors or if lucky sell for minimal value.

How about you? Does your business own you or do you have a business that is a joy to run? 

At Sophiall, we free business owners from the day to day grind of their business. Take the survey and see where your business stands in terms of value and independence with the 60,000 other SMEs who have done so worldwide. 

Then let us have an initial chat and see how together we can help you transform your company into the independent asset that works for you.

True Freedom comes from Owning a Business that is Valuable, Scalable, and "Sellable".

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