Remember that your time isn’t ‘free’
One of the hidden fallacies in starting and running a company is the idea that your time as a founder is ‘free’.
Just because you don’t invoice your business directly for your contributions doesn’t mean that there is no cost associated with your time.
This cost is the ‘opportunity cost’ – or, more specifically, the things you are not able to do while your time is taken up working on any given task.
Many founders fall into the trap of thinking that their time is endlessly expandable, and that they can simply work more and more hours to take advantage of this ‘free’ resource.
In reality, a founder’s time is the company’s single most valuable commodity, and should be used extremely carefully.
However hard you work as a founder, there is always the opportunity cost of what else you could be doing.
Stick to high-ROI tasks
Even a small business is a complex machine, with tasks spanning finance, legal, HR, marketing, sales, recruiting, training, IT and more.
As a founder, it’s your job to determine which things you work on, and how much time you dedicate to each task.
A guiding principle to help you maximise your impact on your company’s growth is to deliberately spend as much of your time as possible on ‘high-ROI’ tasks, meaning activities which directly and significantly accelerate the growth of the business.
Most importantly, these are usually tasks where you as a founder are doing things that nobody else can do as well as you can – it’s the optimal use of your time, deploying your skills and expertise on the things that really matter for growth.
In most cases, this means selling to customers, generating income, building and developing teams, and taking big-picture strategic decisions to create step change growth.
There will be hundreds of other tasks that need doing in the company to keep it running – your job as a founder is to continually ask whether there’s real value in spending your time doing them yourself, or whether there are other, higher-ROI projects you could be working on.
Find your partner
Optimising your focus as a founder means working with the best people, resources and technology to position you to work on high-ROI tasks as much as possible.
With the right structure in place, you retain authority over and visibility into all areas of your company, and stay in complete control of decision-making.
At the same time, you free yourself from low-ROI tasks which drain your time and contribute little or nothing to key growth objectives.
The result is true maximisation of your input, and the confidence that your company’s most important asset – your time – is being invested in activities which will directly impact the pace and scale of growth.