Is your business entirely dependent upon you to function? Could you go away for a week or a month and still have everything ticking along? 

If the answer is “no”, or “maybe”, then this article is for you!  

Here are my top 3 tips for transitioning from key-person reliant to intellectual property led.

  1. Acknowledge that having your Intellectual Property locked in your head is a risk. 
  2. Systemise your unique Intellectual Property into visual models 
  3. Train your team to deliver 

1. Acknowledge that having your Intellectual Property locked in your head is a risk.

If you get really sick tomorrow, is there someone on your team sufficiently well trained and knowledgeable to take on your current clients? 

If the answer is “no”, you’re in a pretty risky situation.  

If you’re the only one who can do the service delivery, then that means your business can’t operate without you. If it can’t operate, it’s going to struggle to make money.  

And that’s the opposite of what we want. 

Now, I know there’s only one you and you are irreplaceable. But that doesn’t mean someone else can’t be taught the critical information and skills to keep your business going.  

Now, I’ve heard some variation of the following excuses: 

  • “I can’t trust anyone else to do it well.” 
  • “It’s not something I can teach someone else to do.” 
  • “My reputation is on the line.” 

It’s important to be honest with yourself. If you want to be able to scale. If you want to be able to take time off without compromising your business, it’s time to acknowledge that having your intellectual property locked inside your head is a risk. 

2. Systemise your unique Intellectual Property into visual models 

Your unique way of working with clients shouldn’t be locked in your head. You need to get it out. 

You might be tempted to sit down and write a massive manual. And while documentation is important, people don’t remember a wall of text. 

To be effective, turn your intellectual property into VISUAL MODELS – e.g. infographics/diagrams.  

There’s a phenomenon called the Picture Superiority Effect. People are more likely to remember a picture they’ve seen than something they’ve heard or read.  

Two graphs. One at 10% the other at 65%. The 10% one shows how much information is retained after 3 days if it was presented in text or audio only. The 65% one shows if the information was presented in text plus a picture.

Use the Picture Superiority Effect phenomenon to your advantage and create visual models! 

Here at Think RAPT, we recommend 4 distinct types of Visual Models to accurately and comprehensively capture what your business does, who it’s for, how you deliver your results, and why people would want to work with you. 

We call it the RAPT System, and here’s what it looks like: 

Having these 4 Visual Models will make the next step a piece of cake!  

Read more about creating these 4 visual models here.

3. Train your team to deliver

Once you have the Intellectual Property out of your head and into visual models, it’s easy to train your team to deliver AND for them to get consistent results. 

The 4 Visual Models provide a simple, effective foundation for them to understand and deliver your system. 

Think of the 4 Visual Models as the cliff notes – or a mnemonic. You will still need to provide training and documentation – e.g. having them watch you do it, you do it together, and you watch them do it. But the 4 Visual Models are a neat pictorial framework to help them remember and guide them through it all. 

And the benefits are: 

  • You stop being such a risk 
  • You can take time off 
  • You can train more people to deliver  
  • The opportunities to scale become endless 
  • And you now have a saleable asset. 

There you have it, my 3 top tips reduce key person risk in your business using Visual Models. 

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