I wrote this article after my first trip to Necker Island, Richard Branson’s private island. I was privileged enough to be part of a group of 28 amazing business owners who got to spend a week on Necker.
We did some business brainstorming with Richard. We hung out with Richard. He took us sailing. We went on his yacht. And it was just a great opportunity to soak up a lot of information, not just from Richard but from the other inspiring business owners that were there.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM RICHARD BRANSON's business advice
One of the main things I learned from Richard Branson was, the importance of putting yourself out of business!
This came up in conversation because a few of the business owners who were with me had asked Richard how on earth he keeps on top of the 300 plus companies that are in the Virgin group.
He told us that his strategy has always been to put himself out of business quickly.
In other words, he wants to get his business to a point where it runs better without him than with him involved.
"he wants to get his business to a point where it runs better without him than with him involved."
And after an intense few months getting a new enterprise off the ground, typically at that point he would take time off, spend time with his family, relax and basically then get ready for his next opportunity.
You see, Richard’s point is that most business owners never get to achieve what they could because they are so stuck in the details of running their business.
This really struck home for me because it's so hard for most business owners to do this. That’s because it’s so easy to get stuck in the detail of our business and in the day to day running.
It’s a challenge to even get a moment to stand back to think, okay, who do I need to bring in?
But I think it's a really great mindset to have whatever stage of business you're at, whether you're just starting out or you've got a more mature business is to ask yourself ‘how could this be running without me?’.
HOW COULD I APPLY RICHARD BRANSON'S ADVICE IN MY OWN BUSINESS?
I know when I started out in business, I was responsible for EVERYTHING. Finding new opportunities, making sales, delivering the service to the customer, and let’s not even mention invoicing, book-keeping and all the other ‘stuff’ that goes with running a business.
So Richard’s advice made a lot of sense, but at first I couldn’t see how to apply it in my particular business.
After all, in my business (and I’m guessing yours too) I AM the ‘product’ I’m selling. So how exactly does Richard’s advice play out if you are someone who is selling your expertise eg coach, consultant, trainer, healer, therapist ...
How exactly DO you fire yourself in that kind of business? And do you even want to? I don’t know about you, but I LOVE what I do!
But Richard’s advice got me thinking. what would my business look like if I wasn't involved at all?
Well one thing that’s worked for me is to fire myself from parts of my business.
FIRING MYSELF FROM PARTS OF MY BUSINESS
So, now I automate and outsource as much as possible, but where there are things that can ONLY be done by me, then I show up. My business has grown and will continue to grow when I take myself or fire myself from those roles within my business that can be done by someone else, or better still, I can create a system for it.
One of the first things I ‘fired’ myself from was lead generation and prospecting for new clients.
So I haven’t had to go and find new prospects for years. I’ve set up systems so that my ideal clients find ME.
And not just that, I’ve set up the system so that by the time I personally speak to a new prospect, almost all of the time, they are ‘pre-sold’ and ready to get started.
I can’t tell you how much time this has freed up for me. Time I now have to work ‘on’ my business, instead of ‘in’ it. It means I have more time (and brain space) to enjoy being with my family.
APPLYING RICHARD'S BUSINESS ADVICE IN YOUR OWN BUSINESS
I want to encourage you to apply the same thinking to your business.
- Where are the places in YOUR business that you could fire yourself from?
- Are there other jobs that you currently do that actually shouldn't be done at all by anyone in your business? (Eliminate before you delegate!)
- Are you getting stuck in things that nobody should be doing at all?
- Are there parts of your business you do and you're involved in, but someone else could handle it better?
I know you might say ‘but you don’t understand Bernadette’. The point is, I DO understand. I’ve made this journey myself from being time-pressed and stressed and involved in EVERYTHING in my business, to ‘firing myself’ from areas of the business, and that’s what’s helped my business grow. I understand that it’s a challenge AND I understand that it can be done.
I really want to encourage you to think about the places in your business where you could ‘fire yourself’. Make that list and just get started. The most important thing is to just take the first step.