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Design Your Small Business So It Runs Without You

What would it be like to devote time to the things that are higher on your priority list such as business development or marketing. Or take a real holiday while your business hums along? Put your time, skills and energy to better use to grow a thriving business! Use your CEO Mindset to design your small business so it runs without you.

It sounds a little strange to design your business so it runs without you. However, never fear…your business still needs you.  It needs you, the “CEO.” Before you say “but I’m not a CEO“, ask yourself 4 simple questions.

small business

# 1. Who do you want to be?

The easy part is finding the tools and resources that will help your business run smoothly. The hard part is creating a clear and realistic role for yourself. This is the most important part of designing how your business can function without your direct involvement. Take a moment to reflect:

  • What role do you really want?
  • What is so important about taking your business to its next stage?
  • What would happen if your business stayed the same as it is now?

# 2. What do you want to do?

As your business grows, it becomes more challenging to do everything. Even in the beginning, it’s tough to be chief of the small stuff…and CEO. So, it is essential to identify what you would rather be doing than wearing all of the hats.

  • What would you rather be doing for your business?
  • How can you make sure you spend your time doing this?

# 3. Who can do it for you?

Now that you know what you want to do, identify who could be responsible for different jobs. This is a major shift. A couple of my clients have increased the number of international markets they serve which means they travel more frequently. They are not  in the office to keep the place organised.  Even if you’re not traveling for business, there is always that dilemma of how to take a holiday without your business suffering. It may be time to delegate work to someone else.There are different options so you can determine if you need to hire someone full time or outsource.

  • Virtual assistant- There are people who are available for short-term projects or long-term support depending on your business’ budget and needs. Companies like Virtual Office Worx or OutofhoursAdmin manage your admininstrative tasks, handle the details for presentations and much more.
  • Staff-  Having a dedicated person for sales, customer service and/or administrative tasks is a great way to combine fresh thinking and competence in skill areas where you are weak or distracting.
  • Intern(s)-By partnering with a local college or training programme, you foster someone gaining experience in his/her chosen field or industry in a low-cost and mutually beneficial manner.

Related: How Virtual Assistants Can Be An Asset For Small Businesses

# 4. What can do it for you?

There are lots of resources that ease how the “nuts and bolts” of your business are managed. Two important areas are accounting and social media. Sure, they are necessary but they still can eat up a lot of time.

  • Cloud accounting Bookkeeping and invoicing are easily automated with cloud services. Resources like Anne Brady McQuillans DFK or Freshbooks can make keeping your records straight so you manage revenue, expenses and taxes with less stress.
  • Social media Use services like or BufferApp or hire someone to handle some of the posts for you. Granted there is a debate about how to create an engaging and authentic organisational voice. Yet, it has to be your decision of how you connect with your customers and prospects with your small business.

Related: 5 Website Tools To Help Run Your Business Under A Budget

Design what you want and need ahead of time

Using your CEO Mindset is about keeping the big picture clear and your small business moving forward. One of the most important tasks any CEO can do is design how a business is organised. Answer these questions and design your small business so it runs without you and you are doing what you’re best at.

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Images:  ”Focus on banking with Small Business isolated on blue /

Growing a business locally or internationally takes a different mindset; the CEO Mindset. Elli St.George-Godfrey, a behavioral economics coach, international expansion consultant and founder of Ability Success Growth, uses her 3 Keys Coaching process to help business owners and executives in the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland to unlock the CEO within. Under her guidance, personal styles are fine-tuned allowing the senior leader to “authentically inhabit” the role of CEO and collaborate with their team more effectively. With this focus on both the people and the organization in which they work, Elli’s market-proven coaching helps leaders and their teams develop styles and capabilities which enables them to collaborate and effectively join together to optimize the business outcomes.

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  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    No guide yet but you’re giving me ideas! Keep in mind you can add things as needed or incrementally to keep your costs down and manage the changes successfully.

  • Hi Elli, do you write this with a particular small business definition? You don’t refer to the sole proprietor specifically, so how many employees in your target readership?

  • Elli -Excellent topic for discussion. I always ask the small business owners whether they are working ON their business or FOR it. There is a big difference between the two. When you design the business so that it can run without you, you can have the opportunity to work ON the business. Delegation is a skill that every small business owner must learn.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Great points! When you’re working FOR your business, it’s hard to see or anticipate what is happening around you. Delegation is definitely a good skill to learn!

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey


    Thank you for your questions! Actually whether you’re a sole proprietor (also known as a sole trader) or have employees, any small business can use these tools. For example, a friend of mine who has a start up luxury candle/skin care company hires 1 intern every year. This has reduced the number of hours she used to spend on administrative tasks and she can spend more time developing her product and meeting with product representatives, vendors and retailers.

    Another sole proprietor I know uses cloud accounting for all of her invoicing and bookkeeping. This has saved her time that she used to spend completing and sending out the invoices.

    Bottom line, all small business owners can find ways to add in tools and resources that will help them run their businesses. Not all small businesses are going to use all of the tools and resources as they have to be cost-effective. That is why practicality has to be part of the decision-making process as you use the 4 questions.

  • Great post! I try to automate as much as I can with my blog, as far as my emails and my twitter account. It frees me up to a lot more work on other things. Thanks for the ideas.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Randy, great testimonial about how automation has freed up time for you!

  • If you want that your business will also runs without you. You should have some trusted member in your company So, he/she handle all the thing in the absence of you.

  • Steven Scheck

    Thanks Sian. Yes, I am also fascinated by the way the restaurant industry is embracing the Wi-Fi technology. And I personally feel, 5 to 10 years from now, it will be hard to find even a single restaurant that won’t be offering amenities like free Wi-Fi, digital menu cards, and so on.

  • You’re most welcome Sian And m Glad you like this guide. I’ll do some research and write next article on something important topic soon.

  • Thanks Sian! 🙂

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