Showing posts from November, 2019

Time to Heal and Time to Recharge

Small businesses demand a lot. Even if you are good at delegating and lucky enough to have enough resources to delegate to, chances are you work way more than 9 to 5 (which I honestly don't believe exists anymore). And if you aren't already feeling it, you will reach a point of diminishing returns when everything just takes longer and/or is harder. Or you'll make stupid mistakes that are just not like you at all. This is your body telling you it's time to rest and recharge.  You may not need 8 hours of sleep to feel your best, but if you're getting less than whatever your optimal level is—and aren't recharging on the weekends—you're going to hit your limit. If you're getting sick more often, that limit is around the corner.  And until someone figures out how to outsource rest and healing, you have to do it for yourself. Think of it this way: you can either choose to rest at a time that will have the least negative impact on your business, or pu


I am a recovering perfectionist. It took me years to learn that doing my current best is more than enough,  but I still have that tendency and therefore have to remind myself that "perfect is the enemy of good." As a founder, that tendency becomes harder to ignore, especially if you worry that not being perfect means less customers and revenue. But that's not the case. The tech startup world believes in MVPs (minimum viable product) for a reason. Basically, you make available the minimal functional product and then continue to build based on customer feedback— not  based on what you think they'll want and are probably wrong about. This method saves a lot of time and money by avoiding rework. Even if you're not a tech startup, you can borrow the MVP concept. Figure out what your customers need and care about, and get it to them as quickly as possible. When they further confirm and or make requests, you can consider whether it makes sense to modify your prod

Delegation Test

Have you ever heard a CEO or founder complain that they're spending too much time in X, and wish they could focus on Y?  If you're honest enough to admit you've said this yourself, here's a quick test for you:  Do you have someone whose job it is to do X?  If not, then either outsource or hire; or if you can't afford to do this yet, look into how you can automate or streamline it. If yes, then why are you doing their work? If it's because they truly are not able to do it—and this assumes you've given them both feedback and time—then fire them and hire someone better. Otherwise, give them that feedback and time and get out of their way. Yes, I'm oversimplifying matters and it's hard to stay hands off when it's your baby, but your baby will never grow if you don't let it breathe. (See previous post on micromanagement .) The wonderful thing about being CEO is you are your own boss. Yes, you may have investors and a board to answer to

Focus and Balance

So much in life—and business—depends on context.  For example, if you're running a large business and have many direct reports, all who manage a different function, your role is to manage the vision and strategy of the company, only checking-in and course correcting on the rest. However, if you're running a startup or a small company, you have to be willing and able to wear many hats and zoom from bigger picture to day-to-day minutia.  The flip side is that as your company grows, you have to delegate and let go, which is very hard for many to do. A good way to look at this is opportunity cost. If you're handling customer support instead of hiring someone else to do so, what is the loss to your business? Or worst yet, if you do hire someone to handle customer support and keep interfering since you want it done your way, then not only is there an opportunity loss—but you've also wasted the money spent on this customer support person. (See previous post on micromana