5 Productivity Tips For Startup Founders

March 17, 2014By
Dayne Shuda

Take a step back and turn your startup around.

Are you confused why your startup isn’t gaining any traction?

Many startup founders find that they’re treading water. They’re busy all the time and out of energy. It seems like they’re pouring everything into the business without getting anything in return.

It’s a common situation and I’ve been there with Ghost Blog Writers. In the past, I’ve worn myself out working endless hours while it seemed like I wasn’t making any progress on actually growing the business. It’s frustrating and it can drain your passion for the company. And that’s really not good because it makes you feel like giving it up.

Here are my best startup productivity tips for startup founders. These tips should actually help you grow more while seemingly doing less.

1. Set Your Key Business Activities

This is the biggest one I’ve had to learn and I’m still working on it. When you’re busy all day, every day and you’re not getting anywhere it’s usually the result of working on the wrong things. You might think that what you’re working on is important, but how important can it be if you’re not growing?

I’ve learned that getting customers is the only way to grow a business. You can work on your product all day long, but if you’re not getting anyone to use it then you’re not going to succeed.

About a year ago I was working on client blog posts at GBW. It was an important task, but it wasn’t the top priority. A top priority was getting customers. So I decided that for the business to grow I would need to delegate that task and focus more on marketing and sales. Now I put more effort into the posts on the GBW Blog, which brings in our inbound leads and I work on closing those leads when they come in.

Figure out how you can get new customers and make sure either you or someone else focuses on it every day.

2. Delegate All Repeatable Tasks

Every task is possible to delegate. For about a year I’ve been working on setting up repeatable systems for GBW. So far I’ve been able to delegate all the client work and it’s been great for the business. It was scary at first, but the business has been able to grow as a result.

Now, I’m trying to systemize the marketing and sales processes along with the managing of the business on the accounting side of things.

The trap for startup founders is to think that you have to do everything in the business. I’ve fallen into it. Now my mindset is on making it possible for someone else to do all the tasks. I don’t want to be a necessary requirement for GBW to run effectively. I want to be able to take vacations and know that the business can run and grow without me.

Start creating processes for every task in your business starting with the ones you don’t like and the ones that are most important. For me, it was delegating client blog writing. Next it’s delegating marketing, sales and accounting.

3. Schedule Every Phone Call

If you know me you know that I’m not a huge fan of the phone. I think it’s easier to get things done via email, but what I’ve learned is that I don’t necessarily hate talking on the phone. What I hate is being interrupted with calls out of the blue. I like to have a plan when I talk on the phone. Being prepared makes the call much more effective.

And I like to schedule my days with the highest priority items first each day. If I get a call while I’m working through my schedule I don’t answer it. I used to and it drove me nuts. I would struggle to get things done. Now I schedule every call for after noon. If someone calls I’ll let them leave a message. Then I’ll email them and provide a few times for the discussion. I’ll make these times for later in the day so they’re after I get the top priority items done first.

Yes, some businesses will have to put out fires and take phone calls on demand, but this is where you’ll need to setup a process for someone to handle the task of taking phone calls. If it’s a priority item then setup a process and make it someone’s job to handle it.

4. Get On A Proper Diet And Exercise Plan

These last two are a little different than you’ve probably read on other posts, but I think they’re extremely important. The first is diet and exercise. Yes, we all know that diet and exercise are good, but it seems that “busy” startup owners are really bad with their diet and exercise. They each “easy” junk food and sit in their chair all day.

I didn’t want to fall into this so I make sure to take walks 4-5 days a week when possible. I take the stairs. I also do high intensity workouts (video) 2 times each week along with basic weight training (push-ups, planks, etc.).

It doesn’t take much. The intensity workouts and weight training takes one hour a week. The walking can be done in 20, 30 or 60 minutes each time depending and walking is a great way to think about your business’s big picture. You can put the walking on auto-pilot and think about your business.

Next, cut out the sugar and carbs. They cause your body to get fat and they also sap you of energy and brain power. If you’re serious about the success of your business then you owe it to yourself to eat the right food that will give you the most possible brain power.

5. Let Yourself Get Good Sleep Every Night

Finally, it’s time to break the idea that there is no time to sleep. If you’re not sleeping then you’re ridding yourself of the energy and health you need to be at your best. There is a stigma in the business world that it’s good to work all the time. It’s like a rite of passage to work 20 hour days for a full week.

Stop it.

Get 8 hours of sleep each night. Plan your next day so you’re not thinking about your business when you go to bed. Read stories before bed time to get your mind on something else and drift off to sleep.

I’ve found that I do much better work if I put a task off until tomorrow and do it when I wake up refreshed. If I try to kill it late into the night I do worse work on it and become extremely tired the next day.

Conclusion

I’ve been there. It’s difficult to remove yourself from certain aspects of your startup business, but it’s necessary if you want to get your life back and to grow your business. You simply can’t do everything and most of the time it’s easy to get caught up doing things that aren’t even important.

Follow this advice and your business should grow and you should get your health and happiness back too.