Setting Up Your Business to Work for You: A Practical Guide

Mike McKay
April 3, 2024

As a business owner, you’ve likely asked yourself, “How do I set my business up to work for me?” It’s a question that resonates with many entrepreneurs seeking not just success, but sustainable and scalable growth. But how exactly do you make your business a profitable, self-sustaining enterprise that works without you? Let’s explore some practical steps to achieve this goal.

Understanding the Law of the Lid

The six functional areas of every business – President, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, and Administration – form the backbone of your enterprise. Each area needs a competent leader and a functional plan. However, many entrepreneurs find themselves in the position of leading all these areas, limiting their business’s potential.

According to the Law of the Lid, your business’s success is capped by your weakest skill. If, for instance, sales isn’t your forte but you’re heading the sales department, your business won’t reach its full potential in that area. This principle emphasizes the critical need for strategic delegation based on your strengths and weaknesses.

Learning from Ray Kroc’s Success

Consider the story of Maurice and Dick McDonald, who turned their small hamburger joint into a $350,000-per-year business but couldn’t grow beyond that. Their lid was a one-location restaurant business. Then, along came Ray Kroc, whose astronomical lid propelled McDonald’s to 100 stores in 4 years and 500 stores by year 8.

The lesson here is profound – recognize your limitations. Just as the McDonald brothers reached their lid with a single-location restaurant, it’s crucial to identify where you might be hitting your lid in your business. Ray Kroc’s success wasn’t about being the best at everything; it was about recognizing when to bring in expertise.

The Challenge: Firing Yourself

To make your business work for you, you may need to fire yourself from the areas where you’re least proficient. Hiring a skilled salesperson when sales isn’t your strength is a strategic move. However, it requires courage and humility to accept someone better than you in that specific role.

Overcoming Ego Challenges

Letting go of certain functions may challenge your ego. Remember, you don’t need to be the best at everything; you need to be exceptional at finding and hiring people who excel in specific functions. This does not make you less of a business leader. Embrace the idea that your business’s success depends on assembling a talented team.

Take Action: Setting Up Your Business Funnel

1. Define Functional Areas

Identify the six functional areas in your business: President, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, and Administration. Clearly understand your role in each to ensure effective delegation.

2. Evaluate Your Stress Points

Pinpoint areas causing the most stress in your business. It might be sales, marketing, operations, finance, or administration. Understanding these stress points is crucial for targeted improvement.

3. Fill the Functional Boxes

Assign a name to each functional area. It could be you, an employee, or an external resource. This step lays the foundation for a well-structured and efficient organizational chart.

4. Focus on the “Squeakiest Wheel”

Determine the area causing the most stress and work on improving it first. This could involve hiring someone more skilled in that specific function, addressing the root cause of your business challenges.


By defining your business’s functional areas, identifying stress points, and strategically delegating responsibilities, you’re taking the first steps to set up your business to work for you. Don’t let ego hinder your progress; embrace the journey of turning into an owner. 

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