Many business owners are under the belief that the best path to Half-Retirement is to find an employee to replace them in the business. We call this the “Mini-Me Plan.” You make a “clone” of yourself, and they step right into your job. You simply make this clone of yourself and you are set! If it were only that simple. This method is not impossible, but it can be more difficult than simply finding a Mini-Me. This is not the complete list, but here are just a few of the reasons why:
- Authority issues. As the Founder/Owner/CEO of the business, you have positional authority and personal authority that greatly exceeds everyone else. Will you grant your replacement the same level of authority? How will it affect their performance if you deny them this authority? What authority will you keep; what authority will you delegate? Can your Mini-Me command the same level of authority as you can? What effect will their lack of authority have on the business?
- Experience issues. It’s not just the hours you put into the business each week; it’s the decades of experience you bring to the job that matter. Will your replacement have the requisite experience? If not, what are the consequences? Can the skills, best practices, and industry knowledge be taught? They usually can, but by whom? How long will it take? What mistakes will be made during the transition? Can you live with these?
- Loyalty issues. If you are like most business owners, your employees, customers, and vendors have a personal loyalty to you as well as to the business. Will the personal loyalty transfer to your replacement? In particular, will employee loyalty remain intact? What happens if employee loyalty declines? Do some stars quit?
- Jealousy issues. A new CEO leapfrogs existing employees, or one person is promoted over others. Does anyone quit? What are the ramifications?
- Issues with “juggling ability.” A common entrepreneurial complaint is, “Why can’t my employees think and act more like me?” There’s a reason; they are employees, not owners. They have an employee mindset. There’s nothing wrong with an employee mindset; it’s just different from that of an owner. Is your current position so entrepreneurial by design that someone with an employee mentality will not be able to succeed? Can you restructure the position to better accommodate them? Will your replacement be able to handle the task variety and everyday juggling act of the CEO?
- Leadership issues. Most entrepreneurs are naturally good leaders. People don’t follow mission statements or companies; they follow people! Will your replacement lead as well as you? If not, what will be the impact on the business? Is a leadership void a small issue or a big one? Remember, Half-Retirement is not without sacrifices. It’s not reasonable to expect the business to run in exactly the same fashion as when you were working full time. The methodologies will most certainly change. Outcomes may not be the same. It’s hard for a business owner to let go of the process, but remember, your goal is to enjoy life and income from the business. The only things that matter are the income you get from the business and the likelihood it will continue.
- Strategy/Vision issues. One of the primary benefits of Half-Retirement is that you can continue to set the strategy and vision since you are still available to the business. If you are planning to have your replacement take over 100% of your time, are you confident they can adjust the strategy if necessary? Will you be able to maintain your “feel” for industry trends, customers, and staff with a reduced role?
Another big consideration of the Mini-Me Plan to Half-Retirement is cost. You will still be taking your salary during Half-Retirement. Adding a Mini-Me means adding an additional salary. Frankly, this is where the Mini-Me Plan typically falls apart. There simply isn’t enough profit in the business to pay a second CEO.
If you are fortunate enough to have the funds to work the Mini-Me Plan, go for it. Promote or recruit your replacement. Invest in mentoring this person, and you will be on your way to Half-Retirement. If you are like –80 percent of business owners, you cannot fund the Mini-Me Plan to Half-Retirement. Don’t worry; you can use the Four-Headed Beast Plan. Link It is more difficult because it lacks a full-time replacement for you, but it keeps your salary intact and costs far less than the Mini-Me Plan.
Read about Method 3: The Four Headed Beast