Winter is here, the weather has turned and the temperature has dropped. It’s time to getaway to sunnier climes … and increase the value of your business into the bargain.
It’s a fact of life: the most valuable companies are those which survive and thrive without their owner. A buyer will pay a premium for a company that runs on autopilot and will likewise expect a steep discount for a business that is dependent on its owner.
So how about it? See how well your business can function under its own steam this winter by taking an extended vacation – either to the snowfields or further north to chase the sun. Not only will you have a great break, but you’ll also be given the chance to see how things run in your business when you’re not there. It’s likely that some things will go wrong, but you’ll be able use those errors as the raw material for making your business operate more independently of you – subsequently making it more valuable.
Here’s Outcomes’ five-step plan for profiting from your winter getaway:
1 – Plus One: Schedule your Vacay Plus One Day
Whatever day you plan to return to work post-holiday, tell your employees you’ll be back one day later. That way, you’ll have a full day of uninterrupted time to dedicate to dealing with and understanding what went wrong in your absence. It’s also a peaceful way to return to business after a period of time in holiday mode.
2 – Bucket the Mistakes
When you return, make a summary of the things that went wrong and categorize them into one of these ‘buckets’:
- Mistakes: errors where there is a right and wrong answer.
- Bottlenecks and stalled projects: initiatives that went nowhere while you were gone because you’re the person leading them.
3 – Correct the Mistakes
The first and easiest place to start is to simply correct the mistakes that were made in your absence. Mistakes are usually made due to a lack of training rather than outright negligence. The ‘right answer’ to your conundrum may be crystal clear in your head, but not immediately obvious to your staff. Update your procedures manual for next time your employees face the same situation. Make sure these instructions are clear, and share them with your team so everyone has them.
4 – Unblock your Stalled Projects
As the owner of your business, projects often fall in your lap by default rather than because you’re the best person to lead them. Ongoing ‘owner reliance’ makes it much more difficult to build an independent business.
You will probably discover bottlenecks with projects after you have been away. So to unblock these stalled projects, start by asking yourself if you’re the right person to lead the project in the first place. Categorise your stalled projects into two groups: a) strategic projects you need to lead; and b) non-strategic projects you are leading by default. Hang onto the strategic projects, but delegate the non-strategic projects to someone on your team who is better suited to drive them forward. Give clear direction: be transparent about the times you want them to act alone and when you need to be consulted.
Step 5: Give every Employee a Blank Cheque
At Ritz Carlton Hotels, they give every employee discretion to spend – without approval from their general manager – up to $2,000 on a guest. The $2,000 figure is a large enough amount to make the message clear: front line employees should act first to make the customer happy, and ask questions later. Many employees know how to make a customer happy but lack the confidence to act. Giving employees some spending authority will speed up the resolution of customer issues and empower your team to do the right thing when you’re not there.
So go ahead and have your winter getaway – if you follow these critical five steps, you may end up with both a relaxing holiday and a more valuable company.