You're gonna have to hand 'em over someday.
These days, we have the pleasure of working in an economy where “your real job” can mean just about anything. Entrepreneurs are discovering new ways to put their dent in the 21st century economy. As a consumer, I’m excited. Whether it’s downloading the latest app for my phone or taking a class on couponing, I crave new forms of entertainment. With smart entrepreneurs finding new ways to create jobs, growth for companies can sometimes be confusing: Everyone has different ideas on how to take a startup into becoming a legitimate small business.
And at some point, everyone needs to subscribe to the same vision of the future.
Now, handing over the keys might be the toughest obstacle an owner faces. How can someone possibly come in and deliver the same level of service required to grow the business? It’s a risk, but one that every startup must take. Here’s what I did to make the transition in my business.
Figure out what it takes to replace you. Document everything you do on a daily basis, it doesn’t matter if it takes months to complete, chances are it may. Take that information, and use it to educate new employees on how to run the company. Early on in my current venture, I came across someone who felt the only way to expand his business was to invent a cloning machine. Understand you aren’t the only one who can do your job. The sooner you realize that, the better your company will be.
Surround yourself with A-level talent. If you settle for B-level talent, then eventually that will be the norm at the office, and C-level talent will infiltrate shortly after.
Get your employees to buy in to what you’re creating. To them, your company is a source of income, but they need to see the big picture. They have the opportunity to get in at the ground floor and grow with the company. Oftentimes employees can’t envision the future the way the owner does, but explaining it properly will encourage greatness.
Manage your employees in a style that fits their personalities. I chose to encourage employees to make decisions on their own. As long as they’ve bought in, you can trust them to do what’s best for the company. It gives you the most flexibility, and only works when you’ve hired A-level talent.
Be the boss. There are various ways to be the CEO of your company, but find one that speaks to your personality and enforce it. Employees must be trusted to make decisions, but they also require a leader to inspire and give them direction. Reward them for greatness. It will create a positive culture and that has never hurt any business.
Jon Porter is the owner/operator of Chicago Pizza Tours, the first bus-guided tour of culturally significant and neighborhood pizzerias in Chicago.