Establishing Your Business Blueprint and A-Players
Anyone who has built their business from the ground up is likely to have an immense amount of pride in their work. Although it’s perfectly normal to feel this way, excessive pride can become counterproductive when an owner becomes too involved in day-to-day operations.
Not only is it tiring for the owner, but this direct hands-on approach can often restrict the company’s growth to the time and energy of the business owner. For these reasons alone, it’s important for the owner to build a team of competent senior employees who can be trusted to carry out the owner’s responsibilities. In order for a business to sell, a business owner needs to transition to a more strategic role and allow the business to operate naturally.
You might be able to handle most of the daily responsibilities by yourself, but what happens in the future when you need to take some vacation time? Your business should be structured in a way that allows operations to run smoothly while you’re away, so you can actually enjoy your well-deserved vacation and return with a clear head.
In addition to freeing up executives, passing authority down the management chain also grants responsibility to those who work closer to the relevant information and are in touch with stakeholders of the company. Not only does this inspire creativity and innovation from your employees, but it also enables your business to become much more self-sufficient.
In many instances, the owner serves a variety of roles for the business over time. The issue with this is that the owner typically holds the key to many of the company’s long term valuable relationships. These valuable customers are tied to the owner, so it’s especially important that we win their long-term loyalty and trust. The current business owner needs to convey confidence to the new owner that the business will continue to experience growth after these relationships have been transferred over.
Leaving a Blueprint to Preserve the Legacy of Your Business
Small family-owned businesses often want to bring in a new owner who intends to preserve the legacy currently in place, and who will provide a smooth transition of ownership. In order for these two things to occur, there must be a clear understanding of the business’ past precedents.
Are there specific procedures in place for how you treat potential clients or employees? How does your business create value for its customers and local community? Does your business have any competitive advantages that your competitors lack?
In the case that a business owner is the key relationship holder to vendors, clients, or key players within the industry, it’s imperative that the owner begin to lay the groundwork for another senior employee to grow into these key relationships and establish meaningful connections. There must be an established blueprint outlining how the business is meant to be run.
Additionally, there are a few important reflective questions an owner must ask themselves regarding their current involvement in the business. Who is your right-hand person within the business? How much responsibility do they have currently? Are there any functions that only you can perform?
Again, it’s crucial that an owner has an outline of the business’ ways of operating, that can be passed onto the succeeding owner. It’s vital that we keep the previous owner’s legacy intact, as well as holding onto longer tenured customers. The only question left is who do you trust leaving these responsibilities and relationships to?
Identify and Pursue A-Players
When operating your business, it’s not too difficult to hire qualified candidates to bring on to your team. However, taking your business to the next level requires scouting and evaluating the best talent in the market. The key to finding bright talent within your field is to search for individuals who are deeply passionate about what they do.
The people who are excited to come to work every day are more likely to go the extra mile for the business. An A-Player is one of the business’ go-to employees, who is often one of the top performers in the workplace. A-Players are extremely ambitious and have the ability to raise the ceiling of the business.
While it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to fill your entire team with A-Players, you should make recruiting them a priority. Many owners don’t want to overpay for top talent, so they hire B-Players instead. B-Players are still great to have on the team since they are reliable and steady performers. Although it’s cost effective, hiring B-Players over A-Players won’t get your business to that next level you’ve been aiming for.
Think of paying and recruiting A-Players as an investment. Investing in blue chip talent creates a productive and innovative work culture that’s actually sustainable. Hiring top talent typically leads to a much higher retention rate, decreasing the need to hire more employees, while also securing the best talent for the long term.
Acquiring A-players definitely pays dividends down the line. A-players lead by example. Their strong work ethic and attitude can be contagious to those around them. This positive energy only brightens the workplace and may even motivate other employees to become A-players.
Make Your Business A-Player Compatible
In the introductory stages of your business, you as the owner will more than likely be involved in running day-to-day operations. However, it is crucial for a business owner to have a blueprint in place outlining company procedures, team member roles, and timelines that will allow the founder to step away into a true ownership role.
If you’re spending too much time working for your business rather than your business working for you, this is a sign that you need to take a step back and let the business grow on its own.
Business owners should constantly be searching for ways to be more efficient. Developing methods to automate tasks can make life much easier for your employees. A-players do not appreciate being drowned with tedious work. Investing in computational improvements that do this tedious work for you will make your business more attractive to top talent.
Strive to create a work environment that will keep your employees engaged. Culture is incredibly important in small businesses since most of employee productivity is tied to morale. Small business owners should create a dynamic work environment that employees look forward to contributing to.
The best way to accomplish this is to make employees’ feel valued by asking for their honest input. If you’re struggling with ways to improve your product, ask one of your employees or track feedback from consumers. Getting a pulse on how your employees feel is a great way to boost morale.
Another way to attract A-players is to implement a flexible work schedule. Incorporating a flexible work schedule allows your employees to be more productive and less stressed out trying to balance work and personal responsibilities.
Finding ways to consistently reward your employees for their work will build your social credibility, as well as a brand that people are proud to work for.
Leave Your Business in the Right Hands
Ensuring that your business can function at a high level without you is an important step that every owner must take. Empowering the right employees will expedite the process of decentralizing your business as it matures.
We at Tsetserra Growth Partners are committed to serving as honest business partners throughout the sales process. If you are interested in learning more about the process of selling your business, you can learn more here.