Here is a list of 5 key warning signs that indicate that your business may be too dependent on you.
1. You are the sole signing authority
Most business owners give themselves ultimate authority… all the time. But what if you’re away for a few days and an important supplier needs to be paid? Consider authorizing an employee to sign for an amount you’re comfortable with, then change the mailing address on your bank statements so they’re mailed to your home (not the office). That way, you can review everything that comes out of your account and make sure the privilege isn’t being abused.
2. Is your income unchanged from last year?
Consistent income from one year to the next can be a sign that you are a hub in a hub-and-spoke model. Like forcing water through a hose, you only have so much power. No matter how efficient you are, every business that depends on its owner reaches capacity at some point. Narrow your product and service line by eliminating technically complex offerings that require your personal involvement and instead focus on selling fewer things to more people.
3. Don’t make your vacations feel like… vacations
If you’re spending your vacation sending orders from your cell phone, it’s time to hang up. Start by taking a day off and seeing how your company does without you. Build systems for points of failure. Work enough to be able to take a few weeks off without affecting your business.
4. You know all your customers by name
It’s good to have the pulse of your market, but knowing every customer by name can be a sign that you’re relying too heavily on your personal relationships to be the glue that holds your business together. Consider replacing yourself as a rainmaker by hiring a sales team, and as ineffective as it may seem, have a trusted employee shadow you when you meet with clients so that over time your clients get used to dealing with someone else.
5. You get cc’d more than five emails a day
Employees, clients, and suppliers constantly emailing you can be a sign that they’re looking for your tacit approval, or that you haven’t made it clear when you want to be involved in their work. Start by asking your employees to stop emailing. Ask them to add you in the “to” line if you really need to be aware of something, and only if they need specific action from you.