6 NOW Strategies to Avoid Owner Dependence, Burnout and Overwhelm


Alex Alexandrou

6 NOW Strategies to Avoid Owner Dependence, Burnout and Overwhelm

Are you working 40+ hour weeks, working most weekends and evenings?

Has your work life intertwined with your personal life so much that they are no longer separate?

Are you still you or are you your business?

Do you get stressed and anxious about having a sick day or day off when you need it, knowing the work will pile up and you’ll fall behind and have to catch up?

Is the holiday shutdown period about the only time you would consider going on holiday with your partner and family? When you do, it’s only for a few days of the shutdown because there are things you NEED to do in the office. Your partner is happy with getting away but annoyed you still keep checking and responding to emails on your phone.

If this sounds like you, You could be building an Owner Dependent Business…


5 Warning Signs of Owner Dependence

Here are 5 warning signs of an Owner Dependent Business:

1. You’re the only signing authority – this ties you to your business making it almost impossible for you to leave for more than one day, it also demonstrates limited trust with your team.

2. You’re struggling to grow your business – there is only so much one person can do.

3. Your team is all (or mostly all) contractors – they are all managing their business and no one is helping you to manage yours.

4. You know ALL your clients by their first name – your sales are reliant on your personal relationships with your clients (or you think they are). It may feel good but it isn’t really the best situation for you or your clients.

5. You’re cc’d on more than 5 emails a day – you are the safety net for your employees, clients, and suppliers.

If you think you are building an Owner Dependent Business, you’re not alone.


I read on the Semrush Blog recently that “81% of business owners work nights, and 89% work weekends.”

A recent article from The Institute of Directors in the UK stated “1.5 million [small business owners] have felt unable to take a holiday in the past 12 months.”

More alarmingly, 70% of business owners in a Haines Watts study agreed that running a business was detrimental to their mental health.

And according to the 2020/21 SME Research Report from Bstar, the success of most SMEs is strongly linked to their owner(s). The report showed ONLY 17% of SMEs had low/no reliance on owners.

Don’t be just another small business statistic.


Don’t wait until you are so burnt out and overwhelmed, you desperately start implementing strategies to reduce owner dependence. It is so much harder to do when you‘re tired, stressed and you and your team are set in your ways.

Don’t wait to address issues of owner dependence when you want to sell your business and realise it’s not worth as much as it should be because success and growth are dependent on you.

And definitely don’t wait till you want to retire, handing your business over to your children to only realise you are tied to your business for an extended period to ensure your legacy will survive without you.

Why You Should Implement Strategies to Reduce Owner Dependence Now

There are a lot of great reasons and benefits to implementing strategies to reduce owner dependence NOW. Here are some of them:

  • Increase your company’s value and create a more sellable business
  • Build a sustainable business and secure your legacy
  • Build an effective fully and independently functioning team
  • Spend less time in the office and reap the rewards of being your own boss
  • Give your team security and the opportunity to grow and become advocates for your brand
  • Create a content, organised and successful work environment reducing staff turnover and attract and retain the best talent
  • Scale and grow your business further maximising it’s value
  • Avoid unnecessary Stress, Fatigue, Overwhelm and Burnout
  • Have a real holiday(s) knowing that your business will survive and most likely thrive in your absence
  • Have dedicated time to “work on” your business
  • Have time do the things you LOVE doing in your business
  • Have FREEDOM. Freedom from people telling you what to do and how to do it. Freedom to do things your way. Freedom from your future depending on the demands of others. And Freedom over your TIME!

6 NOW Strategies to Avoid Building an Owner Dependent Business

Here are 6 Strategies you can begin to work on NOW to avoid building an owner-dependent business and start getting these great benefits for you and your team.

1. Start Building A Strong Management Team

Building a strong management team takes careful long-term planning. Start investing time in training, mentoring, and building relationships. This will increase trust and empower your team and lay a strong foundation within your business for you to lean on.

Structure key roles to support you as the owner and relieve you of the day-to-day commitments in addition to training key employees so that they are able to take responsibility for these activities. 

Building strong relationships with your team is a great way to unlock development opportunities within your business.

In the words of the great Zig Ziglar “You don’t build a business, you build people, then people build the business.

Allowing your team to explore new ways of seeking out opportunities or solutions is key to business growth, but will require trust from you.


2. Hire a Sales Closer or Sales Team

Consider replacing yourself as rainmaker by hiring a sales closer or a sales team, have them shadow you when you work with clients so your clients get used to dealing with someone else, and then you can easily hand them over.

If you’re thinking I’m not ready for a sales team, start with one salesperson and aim to build from there.


3. Delegate Decision Making and Problem Solving

Having the right team is the first step; the next is to empower them to make decisions and solve problems.

Rather than spending your valuable time being the person on the frontline answering all the questions from your clients, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders, begin directing them to the right person on your team to answer.

Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!

If you are always in the thick of your business and the go-to person for everything you will never be able to step away and will hinder the business’s success and growth.

Rather than doing it all, start showing others how it is done so they can do it.


4. Build Processes and Automate

Go beyond just showing others how it is done and implement systems and procedures so your team can manage without you.

This will actually create a more consistent, timely, and better quality client experience because done right your clients will get a more consistent and timely service/product every time, regardless of the employee and they are more likely to come back for more.

Jeff Platt tells us: “Spend time upfront to invest in systems and processes to make long-term growth sustainable.”

When you are putting together your processes, document not only how things work but why they work so you transfer your vision and ‘why’ along with the how.


5. Plan your Exit

Take the opportunity to start planning your exit.

Why? You ask, I’m not going anywhere soon!

Because having an “exit” mindset will keep you stay accountable and ensure you take the steps you need to take now. It also creates a great framework for strategic planning for your business and will help ensure your business stays on track and achieves your goals. Which in turn will help you grow and scale your business.


6. Don’t Do It All Alone

Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you should have all the answers or that you can solve all the problems alone.

If you’re not sure about how to do something, the best strategy, or, it is going to take you too long or it’s too hard to figure out, look for the right mentors, advisors, and peer groups to advise and guide you.

It will get you where you want to be a lot faster and usually more profitable if you enlist the right help.


If this Blog topic has hit home and need to start reducing owner dependence in your business and you would like to discuss your situation further, please reach out and get in touch with me.

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