How To Create A Freedom Plan To Let Go Of The Reins

Jim Luff
Posted on August 9, 2017
To live the dream of sipping Mai Tais on the beach and treating your family to a day at Disneyland, you must first develop your Freedom Plan. (ISTOCK.com/YinYang)

To live the dream of sipping Mai Tais on the beach and treating your family to a day at Disneyland, you must first develop your Freedom Plan. (ISTOCK.com/YinYang)

As a company matures, so do its long-term key people. They know who you are, what you expect and should know, and share your vision for company operations. Young people can and do deliver fresh perspectives and ideas, and should be encouraged to share them with you. By allowing them creativity, you can get a sense for how they would perform while you are sipping Mai Tais on the beach.  

Why You Started Your Own Business

I think it’s safe to say everyone who opens their own business has a dream of becoming wildly successful and rich. Such dreams propel a business to success. No one who enters the transportation business does it because they want to give up their current lifestyle for one that involves 24/7 interruptions, and endless stress in delivering impeccable service on every ride, every time. We probably had visions of a secret room where we count and stash the stream of money from our business. We assumed life would be better as we set our own work hours, schedules, and meetings. As a business owner, you are in control. Or are you? Can you walk away at any moment and the ship will stay its course while you take an impromptu four-day weekend? If the answer is no, it’s time to reclaim your life and let go of those reins.

Why You Should Own Your Business
Owning your properly managed business allows you the freedom to spend time with your family while making and spending money. If you are visiting Disneyland, your company is still transacting business and bringing in cash. The business is your “cash cow.” The beauty of owning your business is you can transfer it to your children. They may choose to work in the business, eventually take it over, and transfer it to future generations.

Are You Running Your Business, Or Does It Run You?
In my 27-year career in this business, I have watched most of my peers let their business run them — ragged. I have watched a friend take a reservation on the golf course causing us to allow another group to play through our hole while the order was booked. The calls going out to find a chauffeur to cover the run awaited us at the next hole. I have been walking through a grocery store buying cases of bottled water while providing quotes. I have left the middle of a concert with an operator who responded to a vehicle with a flat tire. Really?  When you play a round of golf, have a key employee who can cover phones for three hours. Don’t spend your valuable time going to buy bottled water. Send a chauffeur at the end of a trip and pay them an extra 30 minutes. If you are paying $15 per hour, the $7.50 you spend is a great investment. Act like a business owner instead of an errand runner. Teach your chauffeurs how to change a tire during the training process. Help may be far away, and changing a tire isn’t that difficult. Have a roadside service on contract. Act like a business owner and pay people to do these things while you enjoy the concert.

Developing Your Freedom Plan
To live the dream of going where you want uninterrupted, you must first develop your Freedom Plan. This is the plan of who is in charge of what in your absence. Who is the key decision maker? This person must be trusted to make decisions on your behalf without needing to call you for advice. When you choose the person to put in charge, you will need to prohibit any calls to you unless it’s a catastrophic event. They need to be strong enough to grab the bull by the horns and throw it on the ground if needed. They should have the authority to terminate anyone at any time for any reason they deem appropriate. You may think giving someone that much power is foolish. If you would like to enjoy the perks of a business owner, you simply must give up the reins for short periods, and eventually, forever.

Selecting The Decision Maker
I suggest you choose someone who has been on your staff for at least three years and knows all aspects of the business including reservations, vehicle management, scheduling, accounting, and people management. Look for natural born leaders instead of trying to make someone a leader. Don’t decide to promote someone simply because she’s been with you the longest. Don’t worry about hurting feelings. Business is business, and remember, you want to be sipping Mai Tais or hitting golf balls and not on the phone with your office during those times. Pick the “best of” from who you have.  

Don’t worry about giving that person a title yet as you start your Freedom Plan. The last thing you want to do is bestow a fancy title on someone only to determine in the long run they could not do the job to your expectations. If you want to call them anything, call them a PIC (Person In Charge). This clearly defines the position at any time. From there, you may refer to the person as assistant manager, operations manager, general manager, or simply a manager.

The Freedom Plan
Once you have a PIC selected, start your plan by granting full authority while you are in the office. Let him make all decisions. Provide gentle guidance if it isn’t done your way. Teach her your way. Share your thought processes and why you do what you do. Encourage her to come to you if in doubt about how to handle a situation, but ask how she would handle it if you were not there. If the answer isn’t what your answer would be, allow him to share his reasoning for the decision. If it’s acceptable, let him run with it. This conveys your trust and confidence in your PIC, and helps develop good leadership and confident decisions. But if it doesn’t regularly sit well with you, you may need to find someone else.  

When you are confident in the person’s ability to exercise good judgement, then you can reward yourself by enjoying the fruits of your labor. This step resembles a baby’s first steps. Your infant business is about to become a toddler. Take a four-day weekend. Avoid the urge to call and see how things are going. No news is good news. However, encourage your PIC to call you during the first few trial runs if he needs help or guidance, but let him know your dream is to have a work-free weekend. Eventually, having the PIC take over on weekends or during vacations will allow you to have the life a business owner should have. Get out of your office!

Related Topics: business management, executive training, Management, owner-operators, staff management, staff training, work-life balance

Jim Luff General Manager
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories