The Indispensable Owner

Expert (1)

Lady expert holding expert signIs there an “indispensable person” in your business and is it you, the owner?

A business is a profitable, commercial enterprise that runs without the owner having to be there? Think franchise!

An indispensable person in a business can be a major risk and also a bottleneck! Worst case is when the owner is that person.

A business runs on systems but a practice runs on an expert. Take the expert out and things stop. A business should run without the owner. At the end of this blog you can download my MindMap on how to turn a business into a saleable asset. The number item is to make the business NON dependent upon the owner.

But it is not always the owner. Staff in a business sometimes like to make themselves indispensable. They are the kind of person who has some expertise / knowledge / experience in a particular aspect of the business. It could be a particular piece of software that the business relies on. That software could even be a ‘legacy’ application and the “indispensable person” finds all kinds of reasons why it can’t be updated or replaced. They will insist (because it’s all they know) that the replacement will not do the job etc. It’s called job protection.

Look around your business and ask yourself if there is someone who has the sole knowledge or expertise on a particular application or role. If there is, then they are a single point of failure – RISK. They could be holding the business back by refusing to ‘change’! BOTTLENECK. Seek them out and cross train other people to do the role and seek ideas from everyone on upgrading or changing.

Now, business owners, are you the “indispensable person”.  If you are, this is a major risk as well and an impediment when trying to exit and sell the business. Again, cross train others to do what you do and delegate your tasks to other people. Surround yourself with people who are better than you.

Here is a great poem which you can pin-up on a wall or noticeboard in your business to remind people there is no such thing as the “indispensable person”. (The poem uses the word ‘man’. It is not intended to be gender specific but it makes it rhyme!)

The Indispensable Man

Sometimes when you’re feeling important
Sometimes when your ego’s in bloom
Sometimes when you take it for granted
That you’re the most qualified man in the room
Sometimes when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water
Put your hand in it up to your wrists
Pull them out —- and the hole that remains
Is the measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You may splash all you like when you enter
You may stir up the water galore
But stop — and you’ll find in a minute
That it looks just the same as before.

The moral of this is quite simple
You must do the best that you can.
Be proud of yourself but remember
There is no indispensable man.
(Author unknown)

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John Denton

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