Ever see the commercial on TV where the man soon-to-be-retired man struts through his office to the sounds of AC/DC’s “Thunder”? He breaks free of his professional shackles and retires at an age young enough to still enjoy his newfound free time.
Sounds great, right? Well, sure…if you’ve worked for a dependable company for decades and invested wisely. But what about the rest of us? Especially those who own a business? How much freedom will you have when retirement rolls around?
Well, it depends on how you define your business.
“Do I have a job or do I have a business?”
Not sure of the answer?
Then ask yourself the following:
“Can my business run without me?”
If the answer is yes, then you have a business. If the answer is no, then you have a job.
So how do you grow your job into full-fledged, standalone business so you too may have a freedom filled retirement?
It’s not easy but the following steps will help your business run smoothly, without having to do everything yourself.
Document your process. If you want to grow your business, everything can’t rely solely on you. You have to make each process teachable and repeatable. (Think McDonalds, where they teach all employees to make a burger exactly the same way in every store, every time.)
Not all businesses can produce the same product every time, obviously. But the critical takeaway? You need to discover the repeatable aspects of your business so others can do it.
These delegable tasks might include:
- The production of your product or service
Think smarter not harder. Remember when you were just beginning and your teacher or mentor could do everything faster and more effectively than you? That’s a combination of experience and intelligence.
Make a smart choice and utilize technology to make your life easier via:
- Automated marketing
- Electronic quoting
- Systems that talk to each other (marketing, quoting, bookkeeping, document storage, customer relationship system)
Think big, grow big. Just because you own a business (or have a job) doesn’t mean you can’t continue to expand your circle of influence and experience. Apply for a part-time job or one-time gig that fits into your schedule. Work with or for other people in your industry. (During this time, practice delegating tasks for your own business.)
Sure, quality control will always rest with you but if you have systems in place to test quality, then it’s a non-issue. The goal is to make money from each job, then repeat. More people on board means more money.
Remember: If the business isn’t all about you, it’s saleable!
Outsource when possible. You started your business because you’re great at what you do. Does this make you are fantastic marketer or a good bookkeeper? No, not all!
Always employ people smarter than you. Define your strengths and weaknesses. Then outsource those weaker tasks to someone who excels in those areas, like:
- Marketing. The entire Gen-Y generation has most of us beat when it comes to understanding the intricacies of social media. Outsource your social media to someone whose savvy beats yours. Of course, lay down ground rules before starting, then breathe a sigh of relief that someone else is now effectively running your social media.
(You may also consider a digital marketing agency but their costs will be higher but with the potential for a better return.)
- Admin. Ever thought of a virtual assistant (VA) or even a phone answering service so no calls are missed? There are several virtual assistant businesses around who can perform a variety of general services such as (marketing, typing, collating, data entry, etc).
- Bookkeeping. Get a great bookkeeper. Why? Because he or she can actually save you money in the long run. If you have a solid and reliable bookkeeping program in place, then a bookkeeper can do his/her job that much easier (meaning less billable hours).
While there are many local outsourcing options (like Upwork and Fiverr), it’s critical to always interview prospective candidates and ask for examples of recent work. With a little homework, you may have just hired an affordable asset to your business.
So there you go. The key to a relaxing retirement plan is making sure your business can run as efficiently as possible without you. This means more time to rock out to AC/DC…and isn’t that what life’s about?
Photo credit: goir via shutterstock.com / CC BY-NC-SA