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Why Your Business Shouldn't Be All about You

This isn't a post about how you should look after your employees or the advantages of charitable acts as a business — though both those things are worth considering as a business owner. Instead, this post is about how your business is put at risk if it's too dependent on you. It's nice to know you're needed, but if your business can't stand alone, it might not stand at all — and the value of the company could be impacted when it comes time to sell it.

One person can't keep a growing business successful

A first lesson many small business owners learn is that they can't do everything themselves. Even at the start, when you might not need any employees on staff, success often requires reaching out for assistance from other professionals. Many small-business owners work with someone to acquire a business or hire legal and accounting professionals to cover more technical details.

As your business grows and you bring on staff, though, it only makes sense to start relying on those individuals. If employees can't get daily tasks done without checking in constantly or getting your approval on every decision, why are you paying them? It might seem like you're protecting your interests, but you're actually creating more risk by not putting staff in positions that let them learn and grow. One person is only able to make so many decisions a day, so if you're staff don't grow, your business doesn't. Shouldering all the responsibility is also a heavy load, and increases the chance that you could make a major mistake that negatively impacts your company.

What happens when you need a break?

Even if you're super efficient and able to take on extreme burdens yourself, if the business depends 100 per cent on you, you never get a break. The majority of small-business owners do want a holiday from time to time, which means hiring the right people so you can take time off while your business continues to prosper.

Even if you don't think you'll ever want a break from your company, life can intervene. What if you have a family emergency? What if you fall ill or are in an accident? At a time in your life when you might need the business to run smoothly so you can deal with personal matters, you can't afford the confusion and hassle that arises if the company depends completely on you.

How dependence on you could impact business value

Finally, a business that doesn't function apart from you isn't actually valuable to anyone else. If revenue depends primarily on your personal connection to clients or no one else can figure out the day-to-day processes, your chances of scoring a large sales price are reduced. Even if someone does decide to buy into the business, they are likely to negotiate for a lower price based on the hassle of reworking processes, finding new clients or training staff that have never been fully integrated into the company.

If you can't leave for a few days without risking the viability of your company, the business is too dependent on you. Consider working with employees or outside consultants to make changes that ensure company viability even if you have to give up the helm.


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