May 9, 2024

How to take a break from your business 1: Reframe what your business is.

When you’ve been driving the same car for a while, it starts to feel like an extension of yourself. You’re aware of where its boundaries are, you know exactly how it’s going to respond, you can tell when something’s not right. You forget that it’s a machine. You just drive. Thinking about where you’re going, not how you’re getting there.

Driving a car becomes straightforward because from this perspective, a car is a very simple thing – two foot pedals and a steering wheel, with immediate feedback. You don’t need to know about what’s under the bonnet.

The trouble is, businesses aren’t like cars. They’re not generic. They are hand-crafted expressions of the people that started them. Which means that if you’re not the founder, it can be difficult to understand how they actually work. Only you know the quirks of the system. And all those quirks are buried in your subconscious now, so it’s almost impossible to explain them. Which means that as the founder you can find it difficult to hand over the controls.

The answer is to take a different perspective on your business. To simplify it down to the equivalent of the ‘two foot pedals and a steering wheel.’

You could use the masters in business administration view of a business, but I’m guessing you didn’t start your business to become an administrator. You started it to serve people better. So let’s begin there:

A business is a system for making and keeping promises to the people it serves.

Not any old Promise, your unique Promise.

Not any old people either, but your people. The people who need what only you can give them.

There are just two processes:

  1. packaging, sharing and keeping your Promise
  2. improving how you do that.

There are just two rules to drive the business:

  1. It doesn’t matter who does the packaging, sharing and keeping for a client, as long as someone does it.
  2. It doesn’t matter who does the improving, as long as improvement happens.

Using this simple framework, you can start to explain how to operate your business to the others in your team. Think of this as the edges of the 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that is your business.

I’m not going to make you fill it all in before you go for a break, but having it will help you work out which bits you need to work on, and where they fit into the whole. You won’t need to work on everything you do, and you won’t need to work on anything your team already do. You only need to describe and document the bits that stop you leaving for a week or so.

Now that you have a new, shareable perspective on your business, that gives everyone a context to put things in, you have one more thing to do before you can get started:

Make time to work on this.

Next time.

Discipline makes Daring possible.