Eliminating Key Person Risk in Your Small Business

If you run a business I'm sure this thought has crossed your mind and at some point: what happens to the business if these one or two team members leave the organization? How will the business bounce back from losing a person or two who seem crucial to its operation?

This question has been front and center for multiple reasons over the last months. I've personally been unable to give work the full 100% in Q4 of last year. Simultaneously we've also been discussing growing the business to alleviate those wearing multiple hats—a good indicator for a key person. This amounted to adding "No key person risk" in our EOS "3-Year Picture", making it a priority in how we will be developing our company over the next few years. The real question is: how do we get there?

Whether and to what degree a business is susceptible to key person risk is dependent on a wide range of factors, but the mitigations to reduce this risk can be neatly grouped into two buckets:

The gravity of the negative impact when a key person leaves is also highly dependent on various aspects of how the business currently operates. Things to consider:

So what are the actual things you can do to reduce the reliance on a key person and potentially get rid of this label within your organization?

This list is not exhaustive—I'd love to hear how you've adapted your business to rely less on key team members.