I was leafing through my copy of Small Business Breakthrough the other day and I realized that, each time I turned the page, images of flailing business owners were flashing through my mind.  This was especially true when I got to Rule #7: "Your Business is too Dependent on You..."

Far too many of the small business owners I've met are absolutely essential to the day-to-day, if not minute-by-minute operation of the business.  They are oblivious to Rule #7 and, therefore, oblivious to that fact that they have a business that is NOT

  • Sustainable--things crumble when the owner isn't present to "do it the right way"
  • Scalable--growth creates pain, confusion and customer complaints
  • Saleable--who wants to buy a business that so dependent on a single person?

As the author says, being overly dependent on specific people is bad for your employees, the owner, and the business. It is bad for the employees because they become stuck in job traps that prevent them from being promoted.  It is bad for ownership because it turns the employee-employer relationship upside down, preventing ownership from asserting their authority for fear of upsetting key employees who may choose to quit.