Tired of wishing your business needs supervision, 24/7? Then it might be time to strategically step away… a little. As any parent knows, sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to let them take the reins – with some scaffolding, of course!
They might fail and they might make mistakes but, eventually, your child will learn and grow through their own efforts. And, if you let it, your business can experience the same growth and maturity. The trick is knowing how to do so without those mistakes costing you a bomb in the meantime!
STEPPING BACK TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE
In 2018, Brisbane digital marketing agency Ronin Marketing’s founder and creative director, Kurt Schubert, and CEO, Amber Schubert, moved their family over 16,000 kilometres away to Paris. After over a decade of building Ronin, Kurt and Amber finally decided to fulfil their dream of living in the City of Light.
While some business owners may see such a move as the end of their role in the company – and therefore, impossible – Kurt believes that taking such a significant step away from Ronin has allowed him to have a more effective relationship with his company and see where it can be improved.
“The first thing I realised, once I wasn’t in the thick of it, was that we were neglecting our own marketing. Like a mechanic having a crappy car. We put all our effort into helping clients, we – cue the violins – forgot about ourselves,” Kurt said.
“When running a business from the other side of the world, you know that you are going to have to approach things differently. The biggest difference that stepping away has made in how I operate as a Director is that it allowed me to refocus on the big picture issues, rather than putting out daily fires,” he said.
DELEGATING AND ALLOWING YOUR BUSINESS TO GROW
By taking a step away from the daily running of Ronin, Kurt has been able to see what others in the team could not. In doing so, Kurt has been able to revitalise Ronin’s inbound marketing, change Ronin’s sales systems and fill in any missing gaps in collateral.
However, this isn’t a process that happened overnight. Like a child learning to ride a bicycle, you have to put on the training wheels first before you can let them go.
“We actually built Ronin from the start to such a degree that we could get the business to a place where we could move overseas. Then, over time, I put a really great team of specialists in place to make myself redundant in certain areas of the business,” Kurt said.
“In doing so, I was stepping increasingly further away, while still being able to guide and mentor the team. Allowing others to take certain roles from me allowed me to pull back to a good distance where I could look at everything through the right focus and see what was lacking,” he said.
HOW DO I START TAKING A STEP BACK FROM MY BUSINESS?
Now, you don’t need to move overseas to step away from your business and to let your business grow up. According to Kurt, the best way to step back from your business is through throwing yourself out there and testing the waters incrementally.
“It’s obviously a very big step, and it can be seen as a big risk. A lot of people aren’t in a situation where you could do something crazy like move overseas. But you can try to emulate this process in a smaller way.” Kurt said.
The first step is to work out what tasks and roles can be delegated to other team members, without you as the glue holding them together. Once you’ve devolved some of your roles, try adding short day-breaks to your work week. But if you really want to take off the training wheels and let your business flourish into an adult, then it’s time to take the leap into longer periods away.
“You need to create that distance. Whether that be two weeks a month where you’re working from home or even a longer period of time, you need that long time away for your people to truly figure out a way to work without your presence,”
“You’re going to have to trust that your team will learn from their mistakes but also succeed in their own ways without you, and you can only do that by taking that leap. Once the kinks start working themselves out, you’ll see that your business will thank you for it.”