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Updated 29 Sep 2020

The fundamental importance of building a business that thrives without you

Leading a team of dedicated individuals means your company doesn’t need you to be around to maintain its path of success. 

Diana Albertyn, 16 March 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

In his book Built to Sell, John Warrillow points out that most business owners find stepping out of the picture challenging because they believe that their company’s success depends too heavily on their personal involvement. “Without them, their company is worthless – no matter how big or profitable,” he says. Or so they think.

Yes, a certain level of commitment is required on your part as the business owner, but creating a company that cannot function without you is no way to work towards success.

“Competent employees need to learn their jobs, move up the ladder, and make room for new employees,” says Ira Kalb, professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. 


“Entrepreneurs need to hold themselves accountable to work on their business and not in their business.”- Bryan Clayton, CEO of Green Pal.

Related: How to better manage your money in your business

Here are some of the ways you can ensure your absence in the business doesn’t equate to a drop in your success:

Run the business, don’t work a job 

A business that doesn’t run without you is a job, not a business. This is according to exit planning advisor and founder of Quantive Valuations, Dan Doran. He advises that you aim to work your way out of the business. “Your team should have a well-worn routine that is executed in your absence,” he says. Your vision is something that should be carried out by everyone in your team, and you need to be able to equip them to do so.

Promote a culture of success

Successful -employees

Employees that want to be there will always be doing what’s expected, which is good news for your vision.

Some ways for creating and maintaining a strong company culture, and therefore integrity, include: 

  • Assign employees to important decision-making roles. This breeds confidence in making the big decisions that they would normally leave up to you on a regular basis.
  • Steer clear of micro-managing the business. Failure to do so disempowers employees and puts the business in jeopardy even if you are only off sick for a day or two.
  • Be an entrepreneur, not an employee. Delegation plays a crucial role in managing your business, because it can assist you with tasks that stop you from growing your business. 

Plan for the inevitable 

As much as having key staff to rely on should ease the pressure off you as the boss, there are alternative measures you can take if you’re not 100% sure about things not falling apart when you need to step away from the business.

“I would advise entrepreneurs to create a private folder with all critical passwords and information,” says Doug Messer, CEO and co-founder of University Beyond.

Related: How Craig Bright and Brian Little launched Rocking the Daisies

“In the case of death, for example, having a locked Dropbox of all passwords and documents is essential, as your number two and three in command would need access to bank and legal info to keep the company afloat.” 

Whether you’re planning a vacation, stepping down from the helm or preparing for a day when you may not be around anymore, relying on your employees for the success of your business is one of the best decisions you can make. Not only will it unify the company’s vision, but empowered employees are arguably trusted employees. 


  1. Learn to delegate the mundane tasks so you can focus on growing your business.
  2. Build employees’ confidence by training and allowing them to make big decisions.
  3. Create a place for the storage of critical information needed to run the business, and give access to those you trust.
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About the author

Diana Albertyn

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