There is a recent Staples commercial that has a small business run and own by a guy named Dave. Dave actually does everything and the commercial has many Dave’s running around doing everything. Does your small business have you doing everything? How to you plan to eventually remove yourself from some of these positions? How will you grow or even hire? Obviously, replacing you seems an impossible task. Here is how you do that.
It all should start with your business plan. From the beginning of your business you should plan on the possibility that you may not be around to run the company or do some of the work you do. Yes, it is economical for you to wear many hats at first. After that becomes a strain, and you actually begin to lose money because you need help to do more work than you are capable of doing yourself, there should be a plan. First write down a list of all the tasks you do and titles that go along with that. Admin, it, sales, marketing, picking up the mail, negotiating contracts, making the product, delivering the service and so on. Group tasks under a corresponding job title. What you do will probably break down into several positions, and then estimate how many hours of work each of these jobs take you to do. Then estimate how many hours it would take someone not as skilled or passionate to do the same work. That’s right; whoever you hire may not be as efficient as you, at least at first. The next step is to determine do you have enough work for a full time employee, part time employee or could some work be contracted out. This will give you more options to think about as to when you could afford what option and if there is a more economical solution. So, right now you are thinking, “why don’t I hire someone like me to do all the stuff I do?” There are 2 reasons why that doesn’t work well. One, if you hire and train someone to do everything you do, they may simply decide to open there own business to compete against you after you have trained them how to run an entire company. This happens a lot. Second, finding someone as motivated and talented as you will probably cost more than you can afford or you may have to give up an equity stake in your company. It would still leave you with another problem, how to replace them if they disappear.
An additional benefit of having this information is in regards to financing, selling, licensing/franchising or expanding your business. It will make easier for an investor to understand your business model and how it could continue to thrive with or without you. It makes it easier to see how you could expand your business either with company owned branches or licensed/franchised outlets. If you ever decide to sell your business, it will definitely help support the valuation of your company by showing how it runs with or without you. So, understanding how you do what you do, can help your company avoid falling into the Dave Syndrome.