Welcome to the seventeenth of our Entrepreneurial Wednesdays series. In this series, I share my thoughts on lean entrepreneurship as I take my first steps in my journey. I will be sharing my lessons learned with you.
Have you ever had such an amount of work to do tomorrow that you just didn’t have a clue where to start? Yeah, it happens and it sucks! For years, I have stressed myself before these ”tomorrows” and kept asking myself if I was able to manage all that work. Well, I’m here and I managed it. All it needed was one day of talking to myself. It sounds weird, right? But all it took was to tell myself that I needed to change something. My approach towards doing things. This is what I did.
Keep on doing more by doing less
Firstly, I thought I needed to be more organized. That was true. So I started to plan my days more efficiently (at least I thought so) and I waited. That definitely had an impact on my workflow but still, I missed something. Then it struck me while reading Eric Ries’ Lean Startup. It was the dosage of work that caused me to feel overflow with it. I approached work not only with a bad mindset but also dosage. The thing is, I should have worked in smaller doses, instead of doing everything at once and losing my focus after a couple of hours.
What I did was an experiment with what was written in the book. I simply compared the information in the book to what I learned from the experiment. I realized that with smaller doses I have the final product much earlier than when I did massive doses of work. With having the final product earlier, I had enough time to check it twice instead of once and that made me feel more comfortable with my work. Also, if I was satisfied with it instantly (doesn’t happen very often) I just moved to another dose. This means that I saved a lot more time and energy and whenever something went wrong during the process I could instantly stop. Nothing had an impact on me stopping at that very moment. And the same applies to business.
Only in business, this is called ”pulling the rope”. This means that whenever something goes wrong, an error occurs, the employee can just pull the rope and stop the whole process until the setback is solved. Without smaller doses, the process will not stop and the result will be hundreds, if not thousands of damaged products. Waste of time, energy, material.
With smaller doses to sustainable business
Now let’s think of smaller doses and the bigger picture of entrepreneurship. In the early-stages of a startup. You are trying to figure it all out. And by figuring out, I mean trying to validate your hypothesis. The most important thing in order to build the foundations for the business. Working in small doses lets you have a clearer picture on the feedback from your customers. That means you save time and whenever some hypothesis isn’t correct, you can quickly and efficiently move on to another experiment.
Working in small doses has a positive effect also when it comes to innovation. In IMVU, a company where Eric Ries worked, the employees didn’t work in departments. They preferred to work together at the same time on one concrete feature. Once this feature was built, it was immediately launched but to a smaller amount of customers. This testing mixed with working in smaller doses resulted in a higher efficiency in innovation. A/B testing makes sense in this situation if there are two alternatives to the feature and the company is not sure which one has a higher potential.
With smaller doses, you gain speed. It’s not about innovating more than your competitor. It’s about validating faster and going through the innovation cycle faster. The ability to learn faster from your customer can be a crucial element in competition and can become your competitive advantage. What’s more, it’s the task of the management and heads of departments to create such an environment that will enable working in smaller doses. Lowering the dosage will have absolutely no impact if the team finds itself in a hectic, unorganized office. You could say that working in smaller doses starts with the efforts of the management, rather than the team itself. It’s the cooperation between the two that is crucial and ultimately leads to being faster, efficient and time-saving.