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When you started your business you had bold dreams about the freedom it would offer you, the opportunities it would open up and the money you would earn from your venture. But a few years into running your business you realise that you’re not even able to take a day off without feeling like the place is going to fall apart.

Sound familiar? We see this situation with so many owner managed businesses where the leadership is overwhelmed, stressed and really not sure how to rectify this.

Matt Perry, Managing Partner at Haines Watts London shares some key points from our For Love or Money research to help you identify and develop solutions for a more balanced approach to managing your business.


Building the right team

Ensuring that you have a strong talent pool in your business so that you are able to identify future leaders who can fill key roles in your business is where you want to begin. It takes careful long-term planning to build this team.

Your focus needs to be on structuring the 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. Allowing them to explore new ways of seeking out opportunities or solutions is key to business growth. But this means you need to trust your team and a lot of owners don’t feel that support.

“Unfortunately, our research shows that currently only a third (33%) of business owners feel they have the support of a full formal management team representing the key functions of their business. Further, nearly 1 in 5 (18%) say they have a management team on paper but do not feel supported by them.”  Is your management team a lever for growth?

So by investing time in training and building relationships and therefore increasing trust, you’re going to empower your team, as well as lay a strong foundation within your business for you to lean on.


Effective succession planning

Effective succession planning is a strategy for identifying and developing future leaders in your business. During the succession planning process, you’ll identify which changes need to be made when you or your employees resign, retire, or get sick.

Understanding the key roles within your business is critical to understanding how your business is going to continue without you at the helm.

Keep an open mind when looking at your talent pool, look for people who display skills that are useful at higher levels within the organisation. Be open with your team about creating a succession plan, include them in the planning process and listen to their contributions and be clear about your objectives. 

Once you’ve identified who would step up and stand in then build a plan to upskill and mentor those team members. Offer regular job shadowing and training to show your commitment to your team members.


Creating balance in your business

While you might not be able to engineer your business to run entirely without you, there are a plethora of reasons as to why you should be able to step back now and then, for your own health and mental health reasons.

70% of business owners in our For Love or Money study agreed that running a business was detrimental to their mental health.

The Institute of Directors recently shared an article which stated that, “1.5 million [small business owners] have felt unable to take a holiday in the past 12 months”. This is a real issue that needs to be addressed.

Assuming you’ve invested in your team and built a succession plan, think about using a holiday as a trial run to test out your plan. This will help you by giving you the time you need to rebalance your time as well as testing out whether you’ve made the right decisions during your planning.

Running a business is demanding and achieving a work-life balance as an owner-manager is a real challenge. But it is possible to achieve with a well thought out and tested plan.


Speak to one of our London business advisors about your succession plan and building the right team.


Haines Watts London provide business advice and support to SME owner managers.

Want to know more? Call us on 01753 530333 or email

About the author

Matt Perry

Matt's focus is on helping owners and their management teams on all aspects of structure, strategy, growth and the potential realisation of value from their businesses.

He has particular expertise in supporting owners who are running businesses that are rapidly increasing in complexity. He works closely with these owners to scale their operations, address management and leadership issues and obtain funding for investment and growth.

Matt brings a keen understanding of the broader commercial issues that impact growing business, including governance, risk, succession and protecting personal wealth.


I enjoy becoming an integral part of a business’s journey and draw on my own experience in managing a fast growing company. There are so many angles to consider when a business starts to scale up. There’s nothing better for me than setting some long term goals with a business owner, supporting them through that growth and ultimately seeing them achieve their ambitions.

If I wasn't doing this I'd be: selling.

Favourite Sports Team: Arsenal.

Dream Location: Sicily.

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