How To Break Free From The Owner’s Trap

There are many reasons why people start a business. One common reason is the desire for freedom. That is freedom in time, freedom in finances, and freedom of the mind. Being able to spend your time to do what you want when you want is often a goal for many of us.

Your business is an avenue for finding this freedom. When it gets to a certain point, your business should be less reliant on you, running perfectly well without you. This is when you achieve this freedom. Suddenly you have many options, you could easily scale the business up, get out of the day to day operations by hiring a manager or CEO, you could sell it, or you can freely focus on your passions through the business.

Unfortunately, there are many business owners who, while trying to achieve this freedom, feel stuck. They feel that without them playing an active role the business would fall apart around them. This is the Owner’s trap

What is the owner’s trap?

The owner’s trap is when you feel like you cannot step away from the day to day operations of your business without it falling apart. This is quite a common conundrum for many business owners. As you have played an active role in growing your business you have become the sole beacon of industry knowledge in the business. Through this position, you have become the port of call for every decision.

Your customers and employees have become overly reliant on you, creating a bottleneck. Problems compound, the business gets stuck, and revenue stagnates.

Signs I am in the owner’s trap

There are three telltale signs that you are in the owner’s trap. These include:

  • Your business slows down when you are away. Or you can never get away from the business.
  • Customers come straight to you when something is wrong, often bypassing your employees. Or they end up coming to you even after talking to your employees.
  • Your revenue has flatlined, growth is a challenge, and everything seems bottlenecked at you.

If these signs are present in your business, you may be in the owner’s trap. It is one thing to be working in your business as a part of the chain, but if you feel that you cannot get away without revenue drying up or disappearing then you may be in the owner’s trap.

How to get out of the owner’s trap

The good news is that it is possible to get out of the owner’s trap. It may be a slow process but there are some big steps you can make that will reduce your business’ reliance on you, enabling the freedom you desire.

Begin by analysing your business and looking for areas you can remove yourself from. For example, if your customers are trying to contact you for every inquiry, try introducing key customers to a senior team member, reducing their reliance on you. Delegate some of your roles to other senior team members, reducing the bottleneck and the business’ reliance on you.

This will take a leap of faith and a lot of time, but your business will be better off for it. Your team will be more engaged and will often step up into their new roles quite effectively, potentially improving on certain processes. In addition, your business performance should improve, and you will be freed up to start getting away.  


Taking a leap of faith to get yourself out of the owner’s trap is an important step for your business’ future. A business freed of bottlenecks is able to grow faster and achieve more. If you are the bottleneck because of your business’ over reliance on you, it is time to take steps to reduce that reliance.

One place business owners can become over involved in their business is bookkeeping. For any business, bookkeeping is a time-consuming task that, if passed on to a professional bookkeeper would free up a lot of time. Talk to Link Strategies today about freeing up your time by removing your bookkeeping workload.