Which Business Model is Best for You?

Many people want to take control of their future by owning their own business.  Before you dive into entrepreneurship, make sure that you understand what your responsibilities are and how much of your personal time is required.  This is especially important if you plan to keep your job while you grow your business.  Some business models allow you to keep your job, while others require full time commitment.

New entrepreneur holding open sign. He has just opened his new business

Executive Business Model – Absentee or Semi-Absentee

The executive business model allows flexibility for business owners to own and grow a business with little personal presence in day-to-day operations. This provides the freedom to keep a day job, enjoy retirement, travel, or concentrate on other businesses or activities.

Two types of executive models are the absentee business model and semi-absentee business model.  With both the absentee and semi-absentee models, many or all of the primary business functions are performed by direct employees or through contract resources.  These functions may include management, operations, personnel, accounting, marketing and sales. Executive models allow scaling growth to build a large business by using existing resources or by duplicating established systems to expand.

Companies may have different definitions of absentee and semi-absentee.  It is important that you understand who handles all of the day-to-day business activities.  This allows you to determine your role in the business and how much of your personal time is required.

Absentee Owner

The absentee owner has little to no presence in the business operation, allowing the most personal flexibility. The business may be owned solely as an investment. An absentee owner may set strategies for the business, monitor performance and provide direction to leaders in the company. A downside is that additional staff or resources are required to handle the business resulting in higher expenses. Good systems should be in place to measure and monitor business performance.

Semi-Absentee Owner

The semi-absentee owner spends slightly more time in the business than the absentee owner.  This model normally requires 15-20 hours per week that is outside of their working hours or on weekends.  Activities may include setting direction, managing managers, managing financials and monitoring performance. This owner may keep their job until their business grows income to a level that allows them to become a full time owner.  This model is also ideal for an owner that wants to keep their job while creating additional income. As with the absentee model, it is important to have good systems in place to measure and monitor


As the name implies, this business model places the business owner front-and-center in the day-to-day operations and management of the business. This ownership style is perfect for those who want total control over their investment and want to make all operating decisions. This may be a good option for those looking to make an immediate career change.

Owner/operators typically work in their business most or all days that the business is open. They may directly perform many of the daily functions, or they may hire and manage staff to handle some the day-to-day business. Due to the personal time commitment, the owner/operator would normally not be able to keep their job.  They must be financially prepared for this. The owner/operator model makes business ownership somewhat more affordable, since the owner is not hiring a full-time manager to run the business. Many owners start as owner/operators and grow their business income to a level to hire support staff.  The owner may then transition to more of an executive style of management.