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When is it good to be made redundant? When you’re a business owner!


“Hundreds of employees were made redundant…” How often have we read these words in the news? Our hearts sadden at the thought of these people not having a job and trying to find a new one, to say nothing of the families who depend on them.

Redundancy is rarely a word you want to hear. However, for business owners, it should be considered a word of great positivity. Being redundant in your business means you are free from dependency; in fact, plain free.

Let me say that again:

Redundancy = freedom from dependency!

We humans are funny creatures though. Most of us like to be depended upon – it makes us feel great. After all, nothing can survive without us, correct? The office will not function if I’m not there.

But what happens when you want to take an extended holiday? What will you do if you need to take extended sick or carer’s leave? What will you do when you want to sell your business? Who wants to buy a business when all the IP and goodwill depends upon the owner?

Running a business on autopilot

Yes, it is great to feel needed, but it can stifle us, and our staff, incredibly.

Think of all the inane tasks we do because we think we are the only one that can do them “properly”. Yet, most tasks can be delegated; it’s just our ego that often gets in the way of being free of them.

But, I know, there are certain key core duties that require your level of experience and expertise. If this is the case, you may need to start looking at setting up sustainable middle management, if it doesn’t already exist.

I am sure that most businesses have some sort of written procedures for administration, commonly viewed as “everyday” tasks conducted by the staff roles that have turnover and are considered replaceable. But what logical reason is there to not have policy and procedures written for “senior management” duties for middle management to take over when and as needed? Wouldn’t this alleviate a lot of uncertainty and allow a level of freedom to enter your life?

Imagine how it would feel to know that you are the captain of a finely-tuned machine that can run on autopilot at any time.

The road to redundancy

Businesses need to be more forward-thinking and allow senior management staff to give away some of their dependency – let’s say share their dependency – if they are going to make their business more valuable and saleable, let alone circumvent any unforeseen crises.

Embarking on the “road to redundancy” may be as simple as grooming someone within the business or employing a suitable person who can carry more responsibility, or it may require a more strategic approach.

All paths leading to the “road to redundancy” need to start with conversations, preferably with someone who understands the issues, such as a “redundant” business owner, a business coach or an experienced business broker. In-house training to commence the process of delegating leadership in your business is also recommended.

Also consider reviewing international models of business excellence on process management, such as the Australian Business Excellence Framework (also known as EQM in Europe and Baldridge in the USA) that use preview models for autopilot business operation.

So before you start your next task, consider if there is someone in your office you could start grooming to manage “your” responsibilities. Grab your trusted employee, sit them by you, and start a handover process with that task.

Now, can you see that green, grassy knoll or hear the waves of the beach in the background? That’s called freedom – or, in other words, redundancy!

Megan Barrow is marketing coordinator for Corporate Business Brokers, specialists in selling and purchasing businesses for owners and purchasers.