Continuity and Operational Stability
If I left my company indefinitely, how long could it function autonomously?
What would break if I left?
These 2 questions have rolled around in my head for the past 4 years and its something I've been asked on several demo calls.
"If you get hit by a bus, what happens to us?"
The first time I heard that question, I was caught completely offsides. Through my mind I was thinking:
- What do they want me to say?
- Am I going to die soon?
- What happens to my business and its customers if I die?
- What happens to my family and kids if I die?
- Did I set up term life insurance yet?
- Crap, what did they ask again?
My business provides donation software to non-profits and churches. Donations are the lifeblood for support-based organizations -- if donations stop, pretty much everything else stops.
So asking the question, "are you going to be around in n-number of years?" or "what happens if you die?" is actually a commonplace question.
Anyway, now that I've been asked those questions several times over, I have good answers for them. And instead of being surprised by them, I'm anticipating and expecting that those questions will be asked.
But I still can't help but think: What happens if I leave the company indefinitely? Even if I'm living?
Let's put my mortality aside for a second, if I can structure a business that can function (and grow!) as if I were running it full-time, that would be great right?
So what value and skills do I really bring to the table when I'm full-time? Surveying my time and attention, there's really only a handful of things I focus on each day:
- take care of existing customers and meet their needs
- build solutions for problems existing (and future) customers face or will face
- market and sell the service
If I left the businees, either voluntary or involuntary (RIP tb), those are the things I would be most concerned about.
If I address those issues now, and focus on allowing the company to function and grow autonomously... I will have the option to step away, maybe not indefinitely. :)