“The most dangerous way to lose time is not to spend it having fun, but to spend it doing fake work.”
We all waste time and do things that that are not productive, but sometimes the things we do or don’t do waste our time to the point of distraction and even destruction. These time waster could lead to you losing your job or business. Read more.
Some strategies for not wasting time on fake work
Anything that can be postponed should be. If your startup never makes money, you won’t care about setting up that bookkeeping system. In fact, you’ll wish you had that 10 hours back to talk to more users. It’s not even the hours that matter though, it’s the mental focus. You want your only two top-of-mind subjects to be your product and your users. Just about everything can be fixed later.
Fix things once they break
The best bookkeeping solution is a shoebox. I swear by it. When they asked for a balance sheet, we paid a bookkeeper and CFO to quickly fix everything. A couple thousand Rands later, everything was totally organized.
Solve problems quickly, even if only partially
When you incorporate, there will be 347 options you can think about. Founder provisions, stock structures, by-laws, etc. Don’t worry about them. Just solve this task as fast as possible with the simple defaults. In general, just try to do whatever a bunch of other high quality startups have done. Don’t even bother to understand the options until later. When you’re ready to raise an equity round, take a few days with your advisors and lawyers and amend all your documents to get it right.
Outsource all over the place
I’ve purchased health care plans so many times now I know exactly what I’m looking for. I still use an insurance broker though Yeah, he gets a commission, but if it saves me a bunch of annoying calls with the medical aid company, then it’s worth it. It’s one less thing for me to think about. Payroll is a no brainer.Why try and understand all the laws and rules that govern employment and employees when you can outsource the function.
Later on, hire a good part-time CFO
A part time CFO will do all your administrative tasks for you, either themselves or by hiring someone to do it for them. It’s awesome. Yeah, you probably think you want to learn all this stuff in order to be a better informed founder, but seriously, you don’t. Whether you understand, at this point in your career, how city and provincial taxes work is simply not important. Give up some control, stay focused on product and users.
Don’t obsess over vanity stuff
We still haven’t made business cards. Why? Because we just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I prefer Bump anyways. Or I use old business cards. Or I just grab the other person’s card and snap a photo of it using CardMunch.
There is a good time to learn all this stuff by the way. When you’re not actively doing a startup, go learn this stuff. Make it a casual hobby. Just don’t think that getting good at this stuff will make you significantly more likely to build a great product.
Focus on making enough turnover to allow you to be in business.