How to survive when your destiny is to die as a start-up?

As a start-up your destiny is to die!

Starting up a business, especially for the first time is very exciting. You start with tons of enthusiasm, you get kicked in the butt by reality and notice that life ain’t give you anything for free, you get back on your feet and start running for your life as you notice there is just so much time you have before you run out of money.

Or as Jesus Encinar mentioned in one of my classes during my MBA at IE Business School; as an entrepreneur you usually are 2 months away from bankruptcy.

So the big question is, on what do you focus on how do you manage to keep track on what needs to be done when? There is so much to do in a Start-up, here a short random list that comes from my own experience at foodieSquare:

  • Blogging
  • Facebook
  • Launching next product
  • Getting new investors
  • Developing your product – in our case an online marketplace
  • Public relations – keep the press happy and ready to write about u once u go life
  • Count money and safe even  more than you did before
  • Accounting…most boring stuff ever!
  • Taxes…even worse
  • Paying bills…horrible
  • Calling customers who “forgot” to pay

I could go on for pages…so here’s the problem. What do you do? Your day has 24 hours, you should sleep 7-8, workout 1 (really helps you keep up your energy), eat 1, relax 1…so 13 hours left that can be used effectively. If you do not use your time effectifely you will for sure run out of time and thus money and you must close down your business – YOU’RE DEAD!

FOCUS is the key – but do it right

So how do you prioritize your tasks and keep track of them, especially if you have at least one more team member to align your tasks with?

Here is one really pragmatic way that worked for us.

  1. Sit down at the beginning of each month and determine the top 2 things that need to be accomplished like fnishing of prototype.
  2. Break down this task into milestones per week and break that down into tasks per day.
  3. Give each team member his tasks
  4. Manage these tasks on a for everyone visible Flip chart or on an Excel sheet
  5. Put all the other tasks (e.g. blogging, accounting etc.) you have into that chart or sheet and assign them to your team members
  6. In the evening write down for yourself the top 2 tasks that need to be done the next day to accomplish your milestones
  7. Do these first the next day, no matter what. No emails, no phone calls, no facebook!!
  8. At the end of the day: mark or check all accomplished tasks green and all non accomplished tasks red
  9. The red ones are your first tasks the next day

Really simple but it works! As you gain more transparancy and see what you accomplished each day you definitely feel that you move forward in lightspeed! Before using this simple method I worked my ass off but always had the feeling that nothing was moving forward…because I did unnecessary things and I also did too much at a time.

I am still a co-founder of foodieSquare – we are still alive 🙂 – and the pressure is still  high but now I know what needs to be done and I have a clear view on our progress. Really awesome!

Hope this helps you out – any comments or tipps on the topic time management are highly welcome!

Have a delicious day!


co-founder foodieSquare