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A bookkeeper called me with an issue which has arisen in her business. She had been growing her bookkeeping business for many years and trained a small group of great bookkeepers to provide her clients with five-star service. She had systems in place which her team were following and her clients were delighted with the service they provided. She had appointed one of her best bookkeepers as her 2IC who had taken over managing the day to day running of her business. In other words, she was successfully implementing her exit strategy and at face-value, it seemed to be working.

However, when she stepped in while her 2IC went on leave, she realised the business wasn’t running as smoothly as she thought. She had lost contact with her precious clients and when she called them to check-in she found that there were issues she wasn’t aware of.  Because she had abdicated responsibility for running her business there was no-one checking up on the team and keeping them in line. Although there wasn’t a problem with the quality of the work, she discovered there were many issues which undermined everything she had worked so hard to develop.

There’s a great EMyth blog which talks about the issue of delegation vs abdication. In it, they say “Abdication can lead to disastrous results. Tasks aren't completed properly or at all, you have unhappy customers, missed deadlines, financial problems — all of which you discover well after the fact because you abdicated those tasks...and ran!”

So as you’re growing your bookkeeping business and planning your exit strategy, make sure you stay firmly at the helm steering your precious cargo towards your goals. No-one else on your team will do that with the same passion and commitment.