How can I stop by business being dependent on me?

July 18, 2010Post by Laura Humphreys

Just back from holiday in Taupo where I managed to squeeze in a quick lunchtime session with some women from the Her Business Network. I asked them to send me a question for discussion prior to the lunch. Here was one question we debated at length:

“I am a one person band – and built a successful business around my expertise and skill as a business and marketing consultant. My business had been operating since 1998. My clients come because of me – I ensure that my clients have an exit strategy but I don’t have one for myself! I don’t employ staff or “sell” things. The business is me. I have a lot of business colleagues who I work with on my clients if need be ie lawyers, accountant etc. I create the strategies etc for the business and these are unique to each business. I am working on developing business and marketing templates to load onto my website – not sure what value they will add to the business. I can’t see how I can “sell” my business given it is me! Would value your thoughts on this and maybe some ideas of what I should do”.

What became apparent as we talked was that it is possible to turn any business into a highly saleable commodity… but it takes a mind shift. Firstly you have to really want it. We talked about the alternatives. For this particular person, it meant retiring with no on-going income. She wants to retire within 5 years, so her motivation is increasing. However, a primary belief held is that ‘it is too hard and too time consuming to train someone else. “I’ve tried that and it just ends up being quicker to do it myself!”

It’s true, it is harder in the short term to create a long term solution. There are really only two ways to create leverage in your business – build a team to do the work better than you can, or create products that clients can buy that are not dependent totally on your hourly input. For many service based businesses, where a client is buying your personal expertise, you will need a combination of both. Learn to ‘productize’ your expertise – with the tools available these days and the power of the internet, it is easier to do this than its every been before. And get your head around the fact that other people can, with proper coaching and excellent systems, do your job as well as you! Really! It does take time to train them and yes, you have to put more time in to set all this up… but if it means you can actually walk away and have your business pay you for your retirement… is it worth it? In this month’s session at liber8yourbusiness we are teaching clients how to go about ‘productising’ their expertise. The tools are there… lets explore them!