When you were an employee, you undoubtedly wished you were irreplaceable for the company. You may have fantasised that the organisation would collapse without you. You may have hoped that they would never fire you or otherwise let you go, since you were so important.
In most cases, though, you were just another replaceable cog in the big machine. You colleagues would not miss you, unless you provided them daily with food and beverages!
Now that you are the proud owner of your company, do you still think that you are irreplaceable? Hopefully, you are not!
As the founder and CEO you are very important part for the organisation. You set the vision, you approve of the policies, you lead towards the right direction, you pay for salaries etc. If you go abruptly, everything will change.
It is a great feeling, being wanted or needed! It is great knowing that without you a business may not exist! It is great for your ego but not necessarily for the business.
There are several reasons for building a business that does not rely on your presence and / or leadership.
A) If you disappear one day, the business will collapse. This may have dire consequences on the lives of your employees, team and possibly friends. They may lose their livelihood and their sleep at the same time.
B) If you are irreplaceable, you may never be able to go on a holiday. The truth is that you probably don’t want to, as entrepreneurs are terribly attached to their creations. Have you thought, though, what would happen if you get ill? What if one of your children needs you urgently and you absolutely have to take some time off! What kind of problems will you be facing?
C) By becoming irreplaceable you will be losing the one quality you always strived for: Freedom. When you quit your 9 to 5 job, you surely did not expect to create another one for yourself. And yet, this is exactly what you did. Only this time the job is a 24/7 one!
D) You will not be able to sell the company and move on to greener pastures. That is because you will either be too emotionally attached to it or because the organisation will not survive without you. The golden shackles will deter you from cashing out and building another, bigger and better business.
Don’t worry, there is a myriad of ways to avoid the prison you created for yourself. You should start by following some of the advice below in order to create a life of freedom.
1. Delegate. I know you think you are the best person to complete the task. However, you should cede responsibility to its completion to the second best! The work will be good enough for the company and you will find the time to dedicate to more worthwhile causes.
2. Automate parts of your business. At the height of information technology, you can use several inexpensive resources to automate your work. For example, if you are into internet marketing an autorespondent for your email messages or buffer for you tweets may be a viable solution.
3. Eliminate your workplace altogether. Make sure you can work from home or another location at will. If there is no specific place you have to be, your moves will be more flexible during the day (or night). It is also necessary to get an ipad, iphone, android (other tablet) to communicate while you are on the move.
4. Build more trust with your team members. This way you will feel more comfortable when you are away from your workspace. It will also foster better relationships with the people that work for you and effectively will increase productivity. So, avoid micromanaging at all cost.
5. Fire your customers from hell. Not every customer is good for the business. In fact, some of 20 per cent of them will probably demand 80 per cent of your attention. You need to learn to let go of these people and focus on the rest of the business.
6. Improve efficiency. You do not need to put many hours into work, you just need to work efficiently or give instructions to your team that will save both time and money.
I know that startups tend to do everything on their own, from arranging the papers on the desk to creating a direction for the business. They should also, though, be on the lookout for competent team members. The right team will give them the opportunity in the future to create the life and business they always wanted.
I hope you found this article useful and that you are on your path to create a life of freedom in your entrepreneurial activities. Let me know, if you want to add more ideas.
Image: This is the view from my workspace at home in another country! The more freedom I get, the more I spend it constructively by the sea!