Do you Have a Second in Command? And Why You Might Need Them
All great leaders in life have had backup – a support system to help dole out responsibilities. The president has a VP, superheroes have a sidekick helping them lead the way, company CEOs have administrative assistants, and so on. Bottom line, when you're running a show, there are so many behind-the-scenes tasks, it's hard to do it all yourself. You need someone to help juggle the load, and to step up in your absence. The same is true when running a franchise.
When planning to be away you can help ease the stress level by knowing there is another to field calls, etc., and in the case of an emergency, you can rely on their expertise.
After all, there are so many situational instances, so many nuances to daily workloads that it makes it impossible for the new guy to make relevant decisions. The same goes for a lower level employee, or one who deals with different tasks on a daily basis. They're simply out of the loop.
Enter the help of a right-hand man/woman. By working with you regularly, they know what to do, whatever might take place. Or, through regular communication, they're well versed in your tasks and wishes.
When just starting out or growing your franchise, you might think a second-in-command is frivolous or outside of the budget. However, this person doesn't have to be a personal secretary following your every move. It can be a store manager, your spouse, or a friend who has helped you through the business setup process. So long as it's someone in the know, they're fair game.
Make sure this person is informed on a few key areas. What to do if X, Y, or Z were to happen. How to get ahold of you and where you'll be at important times, and so on. That way, whenever you need to step out – scheduled or on-the-fly – they can fill in.
If you like, you can give them privileges, such as access to certain accounts, the ability to pay the phone bill, and so on. But this step isn't necessary. They simply need to be aware of daily events, and know how to keep things going in your absence. Though you might not plan on being gone, emergencies happen, and you don't want your business to suffer in such a case. Additionally, there are days where you might become swamped with tasks, and knowing someone else can help share the workload (or field additional tasks to the correct department) will ease your stress.
Leaving someone in charge in your absence is simply smart. It ensures that your franchise will never halt, even if you can't be there, and it gives you peace of mind. It's also a good idea to have a longer-term plan, should you be seriously injured or experience a family emergency that leaves you out of commission for some time. For the short term, however, you simply need a backup who is informed, willing, and able to help your business thrive.
Does Your Second-in-Command Already Exist?
If you already have a franchise, chances are you already have your second, even if you hadn't thought about them in those terms. But if you are still in the planning stages, it's a good idea to look for certain qualities or ask yourself what type of assistance you need. It's smart to work alongside someone for a while before giving them too much freedom, but that doesn't mean you can't start laying the groundwork for your assistant early on.