How to Manage your Time Better as a Startup Founder

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A lot has been written and said about Lean Startup, Minimum Viable Product , and Bootstrapping your idea to a product quickly and efficiently.

The techniques are known and well described and the unending amount of tools that help you to achieve it are also common knowledge by now.

But getting to know how to do it, doesn’t mean you can set your mind to accept it.
So HOW do you get yourself to become that person? How can you adapt to lean thinking?

Seinfeld Moment: When Karmer told Jerry he’s gonna make his Rickshaws in NYC idea happen, he explained how he’ll do it quick, efficient, and with a minimum cost:

“We’ll start out with one, and then when it catches on, we’re gonna have a whole fleet!”

I used to be

Before starting my first venture, I used to work in a Telecom company for around 5 years.
This is a completely different type of work, with different working methods – Selling Cycle is long, we got to make sure everything is perfect, and things may take some time. In many cases a very long time.

So when I started my first venture it was obvious to me I knew the right methods, Quality Assurance was a top priority, and everything should be well polished.

Worst part? my partner was working in the same company as me. We were both screwed.

needless to say this first venture failed, but during that time of failure, I came across the principles of being Lean.

Getting to know those principles, on the other hand, doesn’t make implementation easier.

How to make that mental switch

Diving in my second venture, SUMMER, left me no other option but to decide (quickly) what’s important and what to focus on.
When you don’t understand what’s important, you spend all your time on every single part of the product, and on every single and useless feature that comes to mind.
It took me one failure to learn NO ONE cares about most of what you’ve done, and to get my mind not to care either. To be more conservative – I’ll care when I’ll need to.

So I came up with a Pareto concept for my Time usage:

Spend 80% of your time for 20% of your product elements

paretoG2

Picking out the features under the 80% percent in the graph is great for you to be agile, smart, and efficient.

Decide your 20%

Recently, me and my partners were thinking about some cool stuff we wanted to create, and we didn’t want to waste our time on anything. Every one of us has his Pareto in his area.
During the weeknd, mighty Rambo Oz built the Social Bar so we could test our assumptions on some part of our bigger idea. We knew exactly what’s important, and what we should spend our time on.

Many people already explained and shared their case studies on how to do everything right.
I would like to focus only on how to choose what to work on, and how to spend your time.

1. 100% of the visitors that will get to your landing page will see, well… your landing page.
Your Goal – get as many of those visitors as possible to understand your message.

2. considering how good you did on this first part, some portion of your visitors would like to go on with you. Your Goal – Keep your sign in process quick, easy and clear as possible.

3. Those new users you just owned now want to use your product, or actually try out this one thing you promised them, and caught their eyes. How many of those will start using your product immediately?

4. The rest of your product – Leave it for when it becomes necessary.

5. My Tip – Even with the slimmest product you build, let the users leave a feedback – they will from the get-go, and you’ll get a lot from it.

72 Hours of hard but precise work, led us to #1 on Hacker News with our “Show HN” post of Social Bar, getting thousands of visitors, and hundreds of sign ups almost immediately.

That can only be done with the right time usage, and knowing which elements to focus on.

How do you split your time when building a MVP?

Photo Credit: mararie on Flickr

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10 thoughts on “How to Manage your Time Better as a Startup Founder

  1. Michael Weitz (@WeitzM) January 3, 2013 at 10:21 pm Reply

    Great article Lior!

    • liordegani January 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm Reply

      Thanks Michael!
      Glad you found it interesting 🙂

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