How to Cut the Ties that Bind (You to Your Business)

Can your business run without you and still be successful? 

Many companies have disappointing outcomes due to lack of preparation and a short-lived “living in the moment” mentality. In this article we will talk about the steps business owners can take to become Entrepreneurs.

The Ball and Chain is Real

According to AARP, research shows that most baby boomer business owners are reluctant to stop working and don’t have a succession plan for their business. In a poll of more than 1,000 small business owners, Edelman Intelligence on behalf of Nationwide Financial gives us the reasons for this reluctance:

  • 68% said they love their work too much to quit
  • 17% said they don’t think they will be financially able to quit 
  • 11% said they don’t want to entrust the business they built to someone else
  • 9% said they want to leave a legacy with their company
  • 3% said they’re afraid someone else would lose sight of their business vision
  • 1% feared a new owner would bankrupt the company

The pandemic has taught us that change comes without warning. In a flash, any of us could be incapable of running our businesses. 

Succession Planning is not a Four-Letter Word

Someone once told me that the difference between Entrepreneurs and Business owners is that Entrepreneurs run their businesses, Business owners gave themselves a job.

My mentor, Hugh Culver, once told me that we should set up and run our business as if we are selling it. It is the only way to guarantee that we have systems and processes that allow the business to run without us.

Breaking Free is Effective

Yvonne Weld

Business strategist Yvonne Weld agrees. She was able to use her documented systems and processes when her husband became incapacitated. As a result, her systems helped her two businesses avoid paralysis as she continued to support him in his treatment and recovery.

Thankfully, the transition was as easy as giving password access to her virtual assistant. Setting up her business to run without her paid off. The business gained even more clients than before and thrived in spite of her absence. 

Without systems in place, owners tie themselves to the business.  The business is dependent on the knowledge only they have.

I have known a lot of owners who tie their identity to the business – especially if they built the business from the ground up. The typical excuse I hear is, “If I’m not here, all hell would break loose. If I’m not here, who will make sure no one slacks off? If I’m not here, the customers won’t be happy”

There are lots of examples of businesses losing customers because services are being delivered in different ways than the customer is used to. Or that costs and productivity spiral out of control because the owner is not present. 

Having processes in place, not only guarantees the delivery of service and profitability but can also help the business valuation. According to Weld, a businesses’ value is higher and is more tangible than one that relies on the day-to-day input of the owner.

Yvonne Weld’s Steps to Setting up Processes

In this section, Weld provides examples of the steps you can use to start the process.

1. Start tearing down your business into its operational areas. Ask what ails your people as they go through the processes and collaborate to improve them.

2. Don’t take anything for granted. Document every process. Create easy-to-follow procedures complete with pictures. The idea is to create quick references that can be used for training and reinforcement.

3. Simplify your documentation by writing in the 5th-grade language. Don’t get stuck in technical jargon. 

(Check out Yvonne’s full Interview on Marc Haine Live)

4. Be honest about what you are documenting by re-reading and testing them yourself.

5. Revisit your procedures regularly to ensure that they are being implemented and still effective.

 “I always get my team members involved because they’re the ones that are doing the work. So I have them documenting everything. As they’re using one of the processes, if they notice or they have a question, we discuss what extra step we need to add to the process. So they’re always evolving, always changing. It’s a living, breathing document,” says Weld.

6. Do a complete audit of your operations at least once a year. 

“Each month, review a different area of your business. Then every seven months, you repeat. Essentially, the oldest and most outdated procedure is going to be only six to seven months old,” recommends Weld.

7. Determine which tasks you should delegate versus automate through the standard operating procedures.

“There are just some tasks we should not automate, and that’s the face-to-face interactions with your clients.  For instance, customer service should always have a human case,” says Weld.

8. For iterative processes, research software tools can help minimize human effort and make the process faster and more consistent.

9. Create a culture of accountability and trust within the context of these systems.

“For instance, when I give someone a rope to find their way, without me standing over someone’s shoulder, nine times out of 10 when I go check on them on Friday, they’ve made the progress I wanted them to make,” says Weld. Having regular check-ins and updates is the key.

How to Connect with Your Team as a Leader

10. As leaders, it’s also essential to remain grounded and humble even as you entrust these processes with less supervision. This posture will enable you to go to your people and say, “Hey, you know what, I’ll check in with you on Friday. If you need anything between now and then, please feel free to check in with me.” 

“I’m big on modelling the behaviour that you want them to follow,” says Weld.

11. Documenting a particular process may be time-consuming but worth the investment of that time and energy. One can reference the training files whenever a team member needs a reminder or a first-timer needs to learn how to do a process or procedure.  

There are practical ways to document aside from writing them. As you do the task yourself, you can record a walkthrough using your cell phone recorder or a screen recording app. You simply talk out loud as you are actually doing the task. Having it transcribed through transcription software or an assistant., will give you the first rough draft of the procedures.


As we go through the process, we have to be very cautious of our customers’ outcomes. The systems and processes cannot be so stringent that we fail to be flexible. There has to be a little bit of fluidity to the systems to ensure we can adapt to changing conditions and to ensure customer satisfaction. 

If You’re Not Making Your Customers Happy, Change Your Strategy

Having open dialogue with your team (what is working? What is hindering?) allows a business to adapt to change and adopt new processes as the business demands evolve. 

As a business owner, making yourself obsolete at the inception of the business, gives you the advantage to work on your business, not in your business.

About Yvonne Weld

Yvonne Weld is the owner of The Weld Group Inc and helps what she calls “accidental entrepreneurs” to navigate the entrepreneurial world. She shows them how to stop trading dollars for hours, find work/life balance, and build a healthier cash flow.

Typically, her clients come to her to learn how to get off the hamster wheel so they can stop disappointing their family, build a business that allows them to take vacations, enjoy family time, continue to make money, and live the lifestyle they deserve.

Yvonne has been married to her high school sweetheart, Kevin for almost 30 years and they have a son Brennan who also works with Yvonne in her business. She enjoys spending time in nature and loves to go camping, hiking and enjoy campfires in her backyard.

Connect with Yvonne

About the Author

Marc Haine is a Service Expert and a Master of Experience. He is a sought-after speaker and trainer working with businesses that need to attract and engage their best customers. Driven by his passion for creating experiences that rock, Marc has worked with retail, casinos, hotels, associations and municipalities to help them design jaw-dropping experiences that get them noticed.
Marc knows what it takes for businesses to exceed experience expectations–The first step, each day, as you open your doors to the public, have you and your staff yell, “IT’S SHOWTIME!”
Marc is one of the world’s foremost authorities on customer journey experience touchpoints and is the author of LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! Business Operational Excellence through the Lens of Live Theatre (Check out the new way of looking at your business HERE).
Marc is offering a free 30-minute brainstorming session with you and your team. Click Here to book a time that works for you on his online calendar.
Dare to be the exception™

Shared Experiences

Lyndi Hamon

Marc gave a really great presentation. He was engaging, relatable and has a great sense of humour, I was laughing throughout the presentation.

He seems to understand the clientele well, what to expect, and how to find points of improvement and relatability.

Overall I would give his presentation high ratings, I think this kind of client-focused training is important for any business to learn.
Lyndi Hamon, Electrologist, Event Attendee
Dr. Danie Botha
"Marc’s Leverage Design Thinking for Your Next Live Event workshop was a real game changer. Going into the 3-hour session as a “skeptic,” I left a “believer.” The fast-paced, hands-on approach and Marc’s enthusiasm, insight, and knowledge helped our group change how we now prepare for our next live event."
Danie Botha, Physician, Author, Speaker
I recently attended a brainstorming session that Marc conducted for the CAFP. Not only did Marc structure it in such a way that within an hour we had a list of valuable takeaways that I had thought would take at least three hours to uncover, but his level of engagement and energy, and use of humour meant that we ended up with excellent outcomes AND had a lot of fun along the way.
Kim McQuaite, Kim Communications
Marc’s breakout session was very informative, enjoyable, and presented in a humorous way. I recommend it highly.
Eva Bencsik, Mr. Printer
I thought his presentation was very informative and provided a lot of insight into problem-solving in regards to some of the issues our industry deals with, specifically with clients.

He was a great speaker and enjoyed it very much, I feel as though Marc has had a lot of experience in the business industry and is genuine in wanting to help others with their businesses.

He had a few funny moments we all enjoyed too! I felt there was value in his presentation/training because I was able to relate and use it towards both of the businesses I have, Electrolysis and my Skincare line.
Susanne Bodevin, Director
I just came out of Marc’s session on how to become an empathetic leader. I chose his session because as a manager, I get so caught up with my day-to-day responsibilities, that I have not been present with my team. Marc’s session today gave me strategies and systems to help me be more present, and more sensitive to the needs of my people.
Tracey Durant, South-Side Sobey’s
A few years ago I attended one of Marc’s workshops with a number of my front line employees. We found the session helpful not only with dealing with difficult customers but our people felt they also applied the techniques to their everyday lives and with fellow staff members in resolving conflicts. Marc made the group feel comfortable enough to share stories and experiences as well as tactics that had worked for them in the past. I have attended many similar events where people were never as forthcoming as we experienced here. The material was pertinent and topical and Marc was able to make it relevant to everyone in the room. I have always prided myself on being a good conflict arbitrator and still today find that I am able to utilize many of the ideas and techniques we learned in Marc’s session.
Jeff Millar, IGA Garden Markets
Marc's Dealing with Difficult People strategies and content were so valuable I was able to successfully put them into practice the very next day while dealing with an irate citizen. He was happy, I was happy - made for a great day!
Tracy Preece, Bylaw Officer (former), Town of Devon
Marc Haine is emerging as one of the best motivational and inspirational speakers in Alberta. He is a masterful presenter and engages his audience with a positive and uplifting message. His trademark is "Dare to be the exception", and for groups and organizations that need to think - and act - "outside the box" should not hesitate to have Marc as their keynote speaker
Judge Brian Stevenson, Past International President, Lions Clubs International

Client Highlights

Transform your level of service

Let’s explore what Marc can do for you and your organization.

Book A 30 Min Consult

Book Marc for your next event

Discover which one of Marc’s topics will be the best fit for your event.

See Marc's Speaking Topics