By removed from the equation, I mean that the trade feds and their buddies start the war on their own and Sidious doesn't take such a hands on role. Or maybe he starts the war but tries to use it to gain more points with the Senate to create an Empire. But I do see events ocurring as you have described, maybe I have read Labryinth of Evil too many times or something. I do need to catch up on some of my Clone Wars novels
If they tried to start the war without him he would most likely blacklist them, sever all ties, and have his Ex Jedi Master turned Sith Lapdog, Dooku to mop up, meaning DECAPTIATION!!!!!...via Lightsaber so they don't squeal. He would then place someone more competent to his plans in charge, likely the second in command or another like minded indivual or group that he considered hiring for the plan, but instead chose the ones he did choose. A good Sith Lord always has a backup plan. Palpatine is no exception.