Structure Your Business to Run Itself

I’ve noticed a pattern recently. In meeting with several leadership teams for the first time, I always ask the questions, “What do you want from your business? What’s your big goal?” And lately I’ve heard the same answer from business owners at three different businesses: “I want a business that can run itself. I want to be on vacation for a month and have no one notice!”

But how can you build a business that runs itself when your company has hit the ceiling?


When Your Business Hits the Ceiling

Every business and leadership team gets stuck at some point on the journey. They hit the ceiling in three ways:

  • As a company – plateauing at a certain revenue or profit level.
  • Departmentally – for example, Sales might be coming in the door great, but Operations struggles to keep up.
  • Individually – on the journey of growth, the company requires different skills and abilities out of each seat on the leadership team to take the company to the next level.

For most companies, hitting the ceiling causes them to go out of business or to flatline. Only a choice few break through the ceiling and get to the point where the business can run itself. Why?

How to Create a Company That Can Run Without You

Leadership teams that master the Five Leadership Abilities™ of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® are the ones that quickly, efficiently, and effectively break through the ceiling when they hit it. Here’s what your company needs to do to get to the next level.


1. Simplify

Just by growing your business, it becomes more complex on its own. As your team grows and people are hired into the company, the communication, processes, and systems become exponentially more complex. Complexity outpaces the growth of the company.

The way to combat this is to be intentional about simplifying your business.

  • Simplify the roles and responsibilities on your Accountability Chart.
  • Set fewer and more impactful 90-day priorities (rocks).
  • Run effective weekly meetings using the Level 10 Meeting™ agenda.
  • Get a pulse on your business through a handful of weekly activity-based numbers through your company Scorecard.

And always remember, less is more.

2. Delegate

Trying to do it all is another reason why companies hit the ceiling. I’ve seen many leaders on teams that think to themselves, “I can do it faster than that person, so rather than let them do it, I’ll just do it real quick.”

Leaders have got to create extensions of themselves so they can spend their time where it matters. They’ve got to systematically delegate the low-priority responsibilities so they can elevate to their Unique Ability. Leaders who are hanging onto everything are ultimately going to hold the company back by trying to do it all. Routinely evaluate your highest and best use activities through the Delegate and Elevate™ tool to break through the ceiling.

3. Predict

Stuck teams react instead of predict. Teams that get really good at predicting on two levels break through the ceiling quickly. They focus on both long-term predicting and short-term predicting.

Long-term predicting is everything 90 days and beyond – your vision and plan. Teams that use the Entrepreneurial Operating System® V/TO™ to predict SMART Goals get really good at long-term predicting.

Short-term predicting is everything that leaders get entangled with on a daily or weekly basis. The ever-growing Issues List and To Do list constantly weigh on them.

But leaders who use the EOS Issues Solving Track™ (IDS) as part of their weekly Level 10 Meeting get really good at Identifying the real issues, Discussing them in a healthy way, and Solving them for the long-term greater good of the company.

4. Systemize

People – even well-intentioned people – who try to do things their own way can cause your company to hit the ceiling. Everyone doing their own thing their own way will create confusion, complexity, and inconsistency in your business. Frankly, it’s a gross waste of human energy.

Document your handful of core processes at a high level. Think CliffsNotes® version, not a “how to” manual. Then, get everyone in the company to follow those processes. Having ONE agreed-upon and documented way of doing business will drive efficiencies through your organization so you can quickly and easily scale up – while being easier to manage, more efficient, more fun, and more profitable.

5. Structure

Some teams are in constant firefighting mode, reacting to everything. Everyone is wearing at least three hats at any given time. This creates great confusion throughout a company.

Clarify and simplify the right structure with a handful of roles and responsibilities. The EOS Accountability Chart is an essential forward-looking tool for identifying the simplest and best structure to take your company to the next level.

Enjoy Your Vacations While Your Business Runs Itself

Teams that are fanatical about mastering the Five Leadership Abilities across the organization build a business that runs itself. This doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a journey that takes desire, dedication, and an unwavering resolve to become your best. But it’s also the straight path to building a business that runs itself.

Get ready to break through the ceiling!

Next Steps


This post originally appeared on the GPS For Small Business Blog on August 9, 2017.

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