Is it Time to Put Yourself Out of a Job?

kc business consultantsAs a business owner you deal with a lot of fires – did that client get taken care of? Do we have enough money in the bank to cover payroll next month? Will we be able to close the deals in the pipeline?

That’s the day to day stuff…but the big picture stuff usually revolves around growing the business. How can we make more money? Should I (can I afford to) hire another person right now? What kind of customers should I be going after?

However…business growth isn’t always what you think it is, just doing more of whatever you’re currently doing won’t always generate more growth and it very well could end up causing you some bigger problems. More than likely, straight growth, just for growth’s sake isn’t your long term goal but it is probably what you focus on.  Maybe it’s time to think about a different approach.

The Alternative – Put Yourself out of a Job!

Instead of focusing strictly on growth, what if you took the time and the effort to build up your business so that it could essentially run without you? Imagine you had the right people and systems in place so the whole thing could run with very little of your time and energy.

  • You could build a reliable sales team / approach that’s predictable and scalable
  • You could build operational delivery that gives your customers a great outcome…without you!
  • You could outsource your back office to handle your Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable (although you would stay on top of regular reporting so it doesn’t get out of control)
  • You could implement a great hiring process and a strong culture so finding the right people isn’t as challenging

That leaves you, as the business owner, in a position to focus almost exclusively on the strategic stuff. Stuff like strategic partnerships, product development, fine tuning pricing, setting a vision and a course for the organization. You know, it’s all the stuff that only the business owner can do, but most don’t have time for.

The reality is that if you had the time to step back and really look at the big picture…that’s when you could really ramp up the growth on your business, if that’s what you wanted to do.

Putting yourself out of a job would also free you up to focus on other things that you might want to do.

  • Would you like to spend more time with your family?
  • Have you always had a passion for a different kind of business, one that you could now start on the side?
  • Is there a non-profit or cause that you always wanted to really dig into and support?
  • What about that hobby that you’ve always wanted to have time for. Golf? Photography? Travel? Building your own winery / brewery? The options are unlimited…if you have the time and resources.

Look at this way – would you rather work 60+ hours a week and grow your business 10% or make about as much as you did last year and drop down to 10 hours a week on the day to day operations part of the business? That’s a pretty extreme example and not possible for everyone, but it is something that could happen for many business owners.

Putting yourself out of a job will be hard work!

Obviously putting yourself out of a job isn’t an easy thing to do. If you’re a freelancer…or a solopreneur and you are your business, then it may not be possible at all. Even for somewhat larger businesses, you’ll have to reach enough scale to afford paying others to do a lot of the work and management.

It will take a different way of thinking about your business…and frankly the most challenging part of the process is getting comfortable with the idea that your business can succeed without your direct constant input. Some business owners will never be able to accept that idea…which means they’re never really going to be free.

If this idea resonates with you at all, then I’d suggest doing a quick audit of where you spend big chunks of time. Pick one of those and come up with strategies on how you could stop doing that work – can you delegate more than you’ve been comfortable with? Can you automate or outsource something?

In the short run, most of your solutions will cost you more money (or at least short term effort) but it will be a great investment in freeing up your time to do even more valuable things.

What do you think?  Could you change your focus from incremental growth to putting yourself out of a job? What’s the hardest part for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Special thanks for today’s guest blog post by Shawn Kinkade.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting Shawn in person and found him to very knowledgeable and experienced in the fields of business consulting / coaching and business development.  Be sure to follow him as I do on his Google+ page and on Twitter.  More about Shawn:

Shawn Kinkade is the owner of Aspire Business Development, the Kansas City Business Coaches. At Aspire they work with Kansas City Business owners to help them figure out the best way to develop a successful business – where success is defined as money and freedom.

Picture by Moyan_Brenn via Flickr