When considering important commodities for a startup, funding is usually at the top of the list. However, the commodity of time is equally, if not more, important.
As the founder of a startup, it can often be that you are working without a team or even a co-founder and must perform a huge range of tasks covering everything from marketing to administration. Taking on such a wide range of jobs often means that they are performed inefficiently as you are not fully concentrated on the one. However, even in this situation there are ways to work smarter, and not harder, improving your efficiency and, ultimately, growing your business.
Make sure you have a clear plan and keep to it
In any situation where time is valuable planning is key. Time spent planning will be repaid tenfold later, when projects are completed more efficiently, without repetition or overlap and without having to wait for others.
Planning allows you to logically break down larger tasks into smaller ones, meaning that you can complete the smaller tasks in order and track progress more effectively. Take, for example, the task of producing a promotional brochure.
You might rush into this without breaking it down, immediately spending hours creating a perfect design, which exactly fits the profile of your brand. You may then get distracted with another task, returning later to discover that there is insufficient room to fit the written content into the visual design. One of them will have to be amended, leading to a repetition of work and ultimately a waste of your precious time.
The bottom line is that owning 80% of something is much better than owning 100% of nothing.
Clear planning would separate these two tasks, showing that they would both need to be brought together eventually and would need to be completed with the other in mind.
Expand your team
When bootstrapping a startup it can be tempting to think that hiring another member of staff will be too expensive. However, in actual fact, this can be an extremely worthwhile investment as it will lead to a lower workload for you, meaning you are freer to focus on growing the business and leading the strategic direction, which will be crucial for the success of the venture. Furthermore, there are a number of ways to take on staff without breaking the bank.
One option would be to take on a co-founder as part of the business – they would take a share of equity in the business rather than an upfront wage. Again, while it may at first be daunting and unpalatable to give away part of a company you are so attached to, freeing up your time so that you can be effective is essential to ensuring the future prosperity of the business. The bottom line is that owning 80% of something is much better than owning 100% of nothing.
Another option would be to take on an intern. This can work out well for both sides. The intern will gain valuable experience in whatever area of your company you choose to employ their talents, whether this is marketing, administration or business development, while you will gain more of your most valuable commodity; your time.
Invest in the right technology for your business
Investment in technology when your business is just beginning, without vast profits or capital reserves to rely on, might not seem appealing, but implementing project management and communication technology within your business will result in huge time savings.
There are many ways to improve communication within your business for free, including Slack or Skype. For a small fee applications such as Time Doctor or Microsoft Project will streamline project management within your business, enabling you to spend less time scouring email trails and more time solving problems and driving your business forward.