I recently interviewed a business coaching client of ours, Mark Huha, on my podcast, Scale Your Business Radio.
Mark and his wife Diana own Quality Property Maintenance, a specialty maintenance company in Oceanside, CA that works with large homeowners associations taking care of all the common area maintenance in their condo complex or subdivision.
During the interview Mark shared how five years prior (before he had ever been introduced to the SCALE concepts of growing a business) he had taken his wife Diana on a vacation to Europe but that he ended up working most of that time. He contrasted this busted vacation to the one he took just a few months ago to London and Paris for three weeks.
On this second trip, Mark was truly able to leave the business behind for a real vacation and have it continue to operate smoothly without him.
But, and this but is the reason I'm sharing Mark's story with you, old habits die hard.
While the business didn't need him to check in, Mark couldn't stop himself. He logged onto his email account from his hotel in Paris and started jumping in to help customers, not realizing that he was just lighting fires that his team would now have to put out.
When he did, his office manager Lauren (who Mark had involved in the scaling process over the past three years so she knew what they were trying to do and how far they'd come) immediately emailed him to say, nicely but firmly, that he should just enjoy his vacation in romantic Paris, France with Diana, and that his team had it all under control. In fact, she told Mark that because of the time delay now the team would have to go back to each of the clients he had responded to and clean up the communications.
The funniest part (again Mark shared this in the interview) was how Lauren said if he checked email again while on vacation she would freeze his work email until his vacation was over. Now it helps that Lauren is Mark's daughter-in-law, but the real point is that we as business owners don't have to choose between a successful business and having a life. Done right, the only sustainable way to enjoy both is to build a better business.
Mark laughed realizing his hand had been caught in the proverbial cookie jar. And he and Diana enjoyed their three weeks of personal time and when they returned, not only had the business operated just fine in their absence, but it was stronger for having had that short trial run without Mark there.
What about you?
In what ways are you training your business to need you? To be dependent on you?
When we work with a new business coaching client one of the first things we have to do is help wean them off the habit of making everything "owner-centric."
This can be uncomfortable and even scary for the owner, but it's a skill, and like any skill you become stronger in it the more you exercise the muscle and get expert-level feedback to fine-tune your efforts.
Pick one simple step can you take this week to exercise your skillset of intelligently handing off a process or responsibility in your company to your team.
As you implement your above choice, do it in the spirit of exercising a muscle. After you're done, step back and ask yourself what did you learn from this process? What worked well about how you did it? And what 1 or 2 things will you do differently as a result of what you learned this time?
Remember, you can grow your business without sacrificing your life. It's not enough to just create growth, you've got to do it in a way that reduces your company's reliance on you. This is how you sustainably grow your business the right way.
And maybe you can take a break from your company for a day or even a week and give your team, systems, and internal controls a chance to mature without you being there to micromanage everything.
For more ideas on growing your business, including a free tool kit with 21 in-depth video trainings to help you scale your business and get your life back, click here.