There are many things that business owners must do. Certainly there’s the doing of the thing that the business does and, perhaps more importantly, the selling of the thing the business does.


photo credit: bradleypjohnson via photopin cc

But, business owners also routinely get bogged down in all the other stuff – creating web pages, collecting and paying bills, writing emails, tweeting, meeting, troubleshooting the network and, my favorite, taking out the trash.

Common sense suggests that in order to survive and grow you must delegate all the other stuff. That is indeed true, until you delegate all that other stuff, you can’t focus on the highest payoff activities.

Here’s the thing though – while getting all that other stuff off your plate might free up your mind, it won’t actually set your business free. It will allow you to expand the capacity of your business to that which you can keep your arms around, but it won’t actually allow you to grow.

In order to truly get free of your business in a way that will allow you to grow you must work to replace yourself in two key jobs – the doing of the actual work that makes money and the selling of the work that makes money.

If you’re a consulting company you must be able to find people who can do the consulting and you must be able to find people who can make it rain new consulting contracts. If  you’re a plumbing company you must be able to find people who can do the plumbing and you must be able to find people who can sell the plumbing.

If the business relies on you to do either of those functions you don’t really have a business, you have a job!

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Jody Hollis

    John. Learnt the hard way. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Good points and probably the two most difficult things for an entrepreneur to do. Let go! Enjoyed this!

  • I have a question. Your pop-up popped up as soon as I started to read this post. How can I possibly decide if I want to subscribe before I’ve even had chance to read 1 post?

  • Hi John, aren’t these the only two things that make a business, in its most basic sense?

  • LDBusinessSolutions

    Yes, business owners often think that they are being smart delegating the routine busy work–And they are but only to a certain extent. They win when they truly get the business to run like a well-oiled machine without them at the helm. So why don’t more businesses owners do this?–its because they are afraid. They settle for the good give up going for the great.

  • Laura Mansfield

    Hi John. So true. And if you’re exit strategy involves selling your business, you’ll never be able to do that until your business can run without you.