How and Why to Step Back From Your Business
When people ask me how I have time for my business interests outside of Sklar Technology Partners, like running Airbnbs, I like to say, “Oh, well, I fired myself!”
That may sound like a joke, but it isn’t. I do still own and actively run Sklar, but I really have “fired myself” from a lot of the day-to-day activities of keeping the business going. Stepping back like this is tough for a lot of entrepreneurs to imagine, but if you have the guts to do it, both you AND your business will benefit from my experience. Here’s an inside look at what it’s like to “fire yourself” and why now might be your time.
The Perks of Showing Yourself the Door
When I took over Sklar Technology Partners from my dad, I felt like the whole company was on my shoulders. It was up to me to do everything and be everywhere. You can probably relate, especially when you look back on the early days of your business. Wearing 1,000 hats is impressive, but I learned it’s not a smart business move long-term.
The truth is that no matter how good you are, you’re not the best at everything — and you’re not even doing your best if you’re stretched thin. Firing yourself from certain areas of the business you don’t enjoy and/or aren’t your strong suits will give you the opportunity to assign that task to someone better.
This is a win-win for you AND the business. Your company will perform better with dedicated experts on staff, and you’ll have more time to focus on your strengths. For example, over time I’ve slowly fired myself from things like dispatching service calls, ordering equipment, and running service calls (which I wasn’t that great at) to focus on sales and marketing (which I love). It’s a win-win.
2 Keys to Making It Work
If you’re the only one who knows how to do certain tasks in your company, obviously you can’t fire yourself. You’re not ready yet. To pull the trigger, I needed two things in place:
- A Team of Great Employees — I never would have been able to fire myself if we didn’t have an awesome team. They’re skilled, they’re dedicated, and I know I can trust them to do a great job. If you have people like that on your side, you’re lucky! It took me 30 years to build this team (be on the lookout for an upcoming post about keeping great staff in the near future), and they’ve given me the freedom to occasionally work on other projects without worrying that my absence will be a detriment to the business.
- Clear Business Blueprints — To fire yourself without any hiccups, you have to put plans and procedures in place that will show your team how to run things just the way you did. Right now, I’m working on this with my Airbnb side business. I’ve enjoyed getting the properties up and running, but now my fiancée, Halie, is getting ready to take over. To make firing myself easier, I’ve created listings and guides for each property, a welcome booklet for guests, and other blueprints for her. You can do the same in your business. The key has been being proactive, asking and listening to customer suggestions, and making constant improvements along the way.
So, You’re Fired — Now What?
Entrepreneurs are hard-wired to constantly move forward and push for progress, so it can be scary to fire yourself and lose that momentum. The trick is to find something else you’re excited about! Whatever you choose, make sure you feel like you have a purpose — that’s how you’ll stay happy.