“Choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” That’s Bill Gates’ logic. And though the Microsoft founder may not be known for his relaxed managerial style, many other entrepreneurs and company formation experts would tend to agree.
Here’s why: when you form a company, there is a lot do to. And we’re not just talking about the big, long-term things, like creating awareness of your brand or hiring staff. There is also a multitude of small tasks that may seem simple, but actually take a lot of research and work – laying out your financial projections, for example, or setting up your Facebook business page. These are all well within your ability as an entrepreneur but approached in the wrong way, they could add hours to your work day, week, and month.
This is why the smartest business owners are usually those “lazy people” Bill Gates was talking about. The ones who create hacks to get things done quickly. Not because they want to cut corners, have a lie-in or avoid big business decisions, but because it’s more time and cost efficient to work smart as well as hard.
So, before you accidentally make more work for yourself, we asked around a few company formation experts and entrepreneurs who’ve set up their own businesses to tell us their best startup life hacks. Take five minutes to read on – you might just learn a few valuable ways to save time and money while getting your company up and running.
1. Leveraging your network
According to co-founder of digital agency Code and Wander, Alessia Sannazzaro, your existing network is a great life hack for your startup, and LinkedIn is the perfect place to start. If you went to university, contact your old school to see if there is financial support or infrastructure in place for alumni entrepreneurs you can tap into. This can help to get your company off the ground and add to your budget quickly.
Friends, too, are a fantastic source of help when you’re looking to form a company but not quite there with your product. Get them working on beta testing – the geeky ones especially will find all the bugs you hadn’t thought of.
Once you’ve made some progress, try to get on Product Hunt – this is most helpful in terms of reach and publicity.
2. Creating time-saving systems
Koru Kids CEO and entrepreneur Rach Carrell says the most valuable system she created is for project management. She wanted a life hack to capture actions which other people have committed to, ensuring the tasks don’t get forgotten or fall through the cracks.
Her startup life hack goes like this. If you’re in a meeting and someone says they’ll do something, write it down in a notebook (she finds a notebook is less disrupting to conversation than, say a phone or laptop). Take a photo of the page and email it to yourself when the meeting is over. When you’re back at your computer, later on, bounce that email so it disappears from your inbox until a week later, or however long you choose. When that email reappears, you’ll be reminded that the person was going to complete that action, and it’s easy to then check up on it and send a quick email to them if necessary.
3. Reaching new customers
Building up your social media pages before you have an office or even a website for your startup is the best hack for getting your name out there on the cheap, says Max, who handles marketing for the country apparel business A Hume. Establishing a presence on Facebook is not only fairly straightforward for most people, company formation expert or not, it’s also much less expensive than trying to gain visibility on Google. You can actually target users far more precisely using the data that Facebook collects, which is useful if you do want to buy advertising once you have a budget to spend.
4. Keeping healthy (both mentally and physically)
Focusing on meditation has been a life-changing experience for Angela Bradbury, Co-founder and CEO of Chime Advisors, who formed her company back in 2015. For her, it’s all about stopping and figuring out the best use of your time – particularly early on, when you’re unlikely to have people to delegate tasks to and are inevitably spending nights working late. Getting enough downtime, she says, is very important to a healthy, happy startup.
How you use your downtime is up to you, but for Angela, getting in a quick slot of time to go for a run or meditate can help get her brain ticking on a day that isn’t working out so productive. One the best benefits of working for yourself is that you can design your own day, so make sure you tailor it to how you work best. For Angela personally, this has meant using annual leave to go on a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat, a technique based on observing your physical state and sensations. It helped her to develop an ability to observe her emotions and thoughts as if from a distance, then question and control them. As well as helping her become more efficient at work, it even helps her get to sleep when her brain is whirring with the decisions and developments of the day.
We need your startup life hacks!
Do you have your own startup life hacks? Why not Tweet us @TheFormationsCo? We’ll share any great ideas with our whole community!
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Published Monday June 26, 2017