“What?!”, I hear you cry – my business, that I lovingly built from the ground up (it’s practically my baby), I’m going to sell it?!
Now, hear me out…
No, I’m not going to sell my business.
But I’m building it as though I’m going to, one day.
A business’ ultimate purpose is to sell things that people need. Why shouldn’t the business itself be part of that?
You’re probably thinking I’m crazy right about now, but please, hang on and I’ll explain what I mean.
Look at your business right now – could you sell it to someone? As in, “buy my business and it’ll make you $X per month”. If the answer is no, then changes need to be made.
And by changes, I mean systems.
Your business should have such thorough systems, and those processes be so thoroughly documented, that someone who has never touched your business before could come in and follow the steps needed to effectively replace you or any one of your team members.
And, in doing so, they can follow the exact steps that you do, to make money.
Of course, we’re not ignoring the fact that you have a very particular set of skills (love Liam Neeson) and the person who would be stepping into your shoes would hopefully have those same skills in order to facilitate a smooth transition (the same goes for your team members, too).
But, we would want this person to be able to rock up on day one, check through the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) you (or your OBM) has lovingly crafted, and say “Yep, ready to go”. And if they can’t, then there’s an issue.
You need to completely remove team member dependence in your business. And what I mean by that is that no one team member should be so totally irreplaceable that your business would fail to function without them. It sort of hurts my heart to say this, because we love our team members, and know that they do such a good job for us that they do feel irreplaceable – but the truth of the matter is (and I have learnt this more than most in my previous employment) that businesses actually only depend on the work that those team members do. So, if your team member was to leave you tomorrow – could you replace them easily? And not just that, but get them up to speed quickly, so that your business doesn’t experience any downtime, or with you having to pick up the slack while your new addition learns the ropes?
The way to do this is documented systems (are you noticing a theme yet?). You can’t be relying on people to always know what they’re doing, because they might not always be here.
I’m reading a great book at the moment called “Simple, Logical, Repeatable” by Marianne Page and in it she discusses how McDonald’s is the ultimate business (in terms of systems, of course – but I won’t say no to a box of Chicken Selects now and again). Go to any McDonald’s in any part of the world, and a Big Mac tastes the same, every time. Do you think those team members creating your burger are winging it? No, they follow a process to ensure that the Big Mac comes out the same, every single time they make it.
And so your business should be the same – if you run a strategy call, you should follow an exact process – of course, your clients will get different ideas and results, because everyone is different, but the process you use to take your clients there should be the same.
This, ultimately, is how you should systematise your business to the point that anyone (with enough $$$) could buy it from you.
Would you ever sell your business? Let me know in the comments below!