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Argentina’s Socialmetrix Expands Presence to the U.S. with Miami Office

Socialmetrix, founded by Argentine entrepreneurs Juan Manuel Damia, Gustavo Arjones and Martin Enriquez, recently announced that the company will expand its operations to the U.S. with a team in Miami, FL. With this expansion, the growing social media […]

September 23rd, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor’s U.S. Expansion Profiled in Entrepreneur Magazine

Endeavor was recently profiled in an article in Entrepreneur Magazine, highlighting the organization’s first U.S. office in Miami which opened its doors earlier in September 2013. The article discusses Endeavor’s vision for the U.S. and […]

November 15th, 2013 — by admin

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Things entrepreneurs never confess to their VCs

Reprinted from onstartups.com. See the original article here.

By Dharmesh Shah

Note: This is intended be a light-hearted piece that hits just close enough on some counts to (hopefully) be funny. Please don’t take it too seriously. (Oh, and for the record, I’ve actually said more than one of these things myself).

Things Entrepreneurs Never Confess To Their Investors

1. You know that candidate you introduced me to? Well, he was kind of a schmuck.

2. We had our management team meeting yesterday and we’ve concluded that we’re kind of screwed.

3. I know I should know this, but I have no idea what participating preferred means — and who should prefer it.

4. We’ve got a big launch of our mobile app scheduled for April 1st, we’ve lined up some great PR and everything is ready to go. Just one minor detail: We have no idea when Apple’s going to approve the app for the AppStore. We wisely refrained from putting an early version through the process, because we’re in “stealth mode”.

5. It finally hit me that revenue and cash are not the same thing. Customers provide “revenue”, employees want to be paid in cash.

6. I’m wondering if I should worry that the 10 year Oracle sales executive we hired for VP of Sales hasn’t really sold anything yet. Oh, and I think he wants my job.

7. My co-founder had a major life event come up (the event was that he decided he wanted one). He’ll be leaving us but is happy to continue to contribute as a strategic member of the board of directors. I didn’t know he had a lawyer, but the lawyer assured me that my co-founder would “Vest In Peace”, which sounds like an amicable parting.

8. Learned from tech guy yesterday that our entire back-end runs on a single “virtual” Amazon EC2 instance. Also learned that “virtual” means that it can virtually disappear whenever it wants. That’s why the engineering team has been working for months on this horizontally scalable, self-replicating, auto-healing architecture so that when we start getting some paid customers, we’ll be ready.

9. Had to execute some “executive leadership” yesterday. At the last management meeting, our VP Marketing was telling me we were getting crushed in the market because of two big missing features. I told her that on the startup battlefield, wars are not won by features. Besides, we’re investing in our future, not our present. That’s why the entire engineering team is working on building a scalable, self-replicating, auto-healing architecture.

10. We have 11 months of cash left in the bank. Adjusted for inflation. But, not adjusted for the fact that we have no idea if any of our large, enterprise deals that our VP of Sales sold is ever going to pay us in a form that can be used to pay bills and payroll. Our landlord is clueless and doesn’t understand the importance of the strategic deals we’re doing and the raw brand-value of the logos we’re collecting for our website.

11. Our VP of Sales keeps saying “land and expand, baby, land and expand”. I don’t know what that means exactly, but we’ve been doing a lot of landing and not a lot of expanding.

12. I’m super-excited! We had our first acquisition offer yesterday. Well, it wasn’t really an offer. And no, they didn’t really use the word acquisition, or M&A or “buy”. But there was some high-level, strategic talk about how we could work together. And, he paid for lunch, so there must be some interest.

13. We’re planning on throwing a big, bad, holiday party. It’s not one of those crazy launch parties. We want to treat it as a “recruiting” event. Yes, yes, I know that there’s no additional head-count in the budget, but we to be proactively filling the candidate funnel. Startups are “all about the people”.

14. Back in college, when you “audit” a course, it meant you just tried it out and see if you liked it. Why does “auditing financials” have to be so intense?

15. We’ve found new office space. To be consistent with the 5 year pro-forma we showed you at the last board meeting, we’ll be signing a 5 year lease that matches the space needs based on those projected numbers. It’s nice when things just work out, isn’t it?

16. I woke up this morning with this really big idea. It’ll make the idea you invested in pale in comparison. The good news is that we can reuse the work the engineering team has been doing. Not only have they been building something that’s horizontally scalable, self-replicating and auto-healing, they had the foresight to build something infinitely flexible too. Now I know the importance of hiring great people — ones that have the vision to see your vision and can adjust their vision based on your new vision. This is going to BIG!

What do you think?

Dharmesh Shah is the founder and CTO of HubSpot. HubSpot provides marketing software for small businesses. The company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has raised over $33 million in venture capital, and has over 1,800 customers.

He developed grader.com – a free suite of online tools for marketing measurement. These tools, including WebsiteGrader.com and TwitterGrader.com are used over a million times a month.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Cheryl Nesbitt offers advice for scaling your business

Reprinted from Cape Business News. You can find the original article here.

The transition of growing your business from a small business to a medium-sized operation poses many challenges for entrepreneurs who may not be equipped to deal with the change and some of its effects.

This is according to Cheryl Nesbitt, founder and owner of South African cooking school, Capsicum Culinary Studio, who recently addressed entrepreneurs at the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s (USB) Leader’s Angle and discussed how to survive the stressful transition period of expanding a business. According to Nesbitt during the transition phase of Capsicum, her goal was to run a R100 million business. In order to achieve this she hired a CEO with skills she did not possess but were necessary to bring her business to success. “Once a CEO and/or new management are hired it is likely that the culture of accountability will change. During this process it is important that the original culture created stays the same,” warns Nesbitt.

Nesbitt says the key to growing a business and expanding the footprint is to document all business systems, processes and routines utilised during a typical day of operation. “This is the reason why franchises such as McDonalds stay successful. They ensure that everything is documented exactly the same way,” she explains.

Nesbitt says that as a business grows, more management will be required to take on the increasing number of responsibilities of the operation. Furthermore, Nesbitt says the original employees generally won’t have the skills required to work for a medium-sized business. She refers to Steve Jobs who once said that the original team is not the team that takes entrepreneurs to the next level. “There is often a resistance from old staff to adapt to the changes of new management and for this reason they may resign. You need to have a clear succession plan in place before you decide to grow so that these frictions do not lead to unnecessary interruptions. Another alternative is to upskill staff members so that they are equipped to deal with the new responsibility when it becomes necessary,” she says.

Furthermore Nesbitt says that in order for a growth strategy to be successful, business owners must be able to adapt their strategies and compile regular competitive analyses to assess their position in the market. Moreover she says that entrepreneurs should not underestimate the value of attending conferences and networking. Attending conferences and networking often bring about idea’s that could take a business to the next level.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive guidance through House of Genius at SXSW

Last week, Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Gyft (South Africa/USA), Mural.ly (Argentina), and Campo Alto(Colombia) had the opportunity to meet with members of the Austin chapter of House of Genius, an organization that brings together entrepreneurs and a diverse mix of business leaders from the community for an evening of disruptive thinking, supportive input, and creative new ideas.. This intense, thought provoking event took place at the end of SXSW Interactive and just four days after Endeavor Entrepreneurs met with several House of Genius members for 1-on-1 mentoring sessions during Endeavor’s Austin Innovation Tour and nearly a week after the Endeavor and Startup America hosted Entrepreneur’s Unconference at Dell headquarters in Austin.

The House of Genius session gave the entrepreneurs the opportunity to expose their products to the scrutiny of industry experts from a variety of fields. Composed of executives, artists, entrepreneurs, and academics, House of Genius engages innovators in an intense dialogue and debate to, as they say, “disrupt normal thinking patterns and ignite new ideas.”

The entrepreneurs presented their business and then listened as the 20 “geniuses” went around the table and shared feedback, ideas, potential use cases, and concerns. Each entrepreneur was then able to narrow the focus on 1-3 points and raise specific questions to the panel. Mariano Suarez-Battan, an Argentine entrepreneur in the social media, gaming and mobile app space, found the event to be helpful for his new online venture and said the House of Genius members helped him to “frame the problem he’s trying to solve, dive deep and work with interactive agencies and teams to figure out what problems arise off-line that his online tool could address” They helped him see beyond his scope as a designer and better understand his customers’ perspective. Vinny Lingham, a South African entrepreneur in the mobile space, commented, “It was like having 20 meetings with industry experts in just 2 hours. Kind of like an incredibly efficient focus group. And the feedback was collaborative, not critical.”

These sessions went beyond advice and consulting, as there was optimistic talk of forming strategic business alliances and the possibility of launching House of Genius in some of Endeavor’s countries. A House of Genius member commented that the entrepreneurs really “grabbed his attention,” as much from the creativity and innovation of their ideas as the passion and energy they brought to their businesses. Mariano continued, “We used the word ‘partnership,’” elaborating that he and the cofounders of House of Genius planned a more in-depth strategic session once the South-by-Southwest activities calmed down.
The feeling of success was palpable as this House of Genius event wrapped up. These emerging market entrepreneurs proved themselves in front of a group of experts and were able to walk away with invaluable advice and potentially lifelong connections. With such a great end to Endeavor’s Austin Tour and South-by-Southwest, it only remains to be seen how Endeavor will top this event in the future.

Endeavor Entrepreneur launches WOBI, a platform for sharing innovative business ideas

Whether you’re a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory learner, WOBI (wobi.com) has got you covered. Say hello to WOBI, the versatile new platform powered by Endeavor Entrepreneur company HSM, a global multimedia group that has been inspiring leaders with innovative experiences and ideas for over 20 years. Based in Argentina, Endeavor Entrepreneurs Nelson Duboscq and Eduardo Bruchou joined Endeavor’s network in 1999, and have received global recognition for ExpoManagement and World Business Forum — annual events that assembles thousands of top business executives worldwide to share ideas and trends.

WOBI, which stands for “World of Business Ideas,” curates and delivers the best management ideas and practice in a well-woven blend of four distinct channels: Events, Television, Magazine, and wobi.com. On its website, HSM introduces WOBI as “a powerhouse of actionable ideas from people shaping the business world,” and “available for all those with a thirst for knowledge – anytime, anywhere.” WOBI’s homepage delivers an inviting, eye-catching blend of colors and a wide range of content selection featuring the world’s top thought leaders delivering actionable ideas.

WOBI’s lineup of videos resembles a reel of TED Talks, but designed especially for the global community of those interested in becoming global business leaders – those who put ideas into action every day. WOBI’s magazine arm is a bi-monthly publication offering a selection of global content, local cases, exclusive reports, and never-before-published interviews.

Want to get in front of a VC? Get a little creative — human even.

Reprinted from thisisgoingtobebig.com. See the original article here.

By Charlie O’Donnell

Since I launched my fund, I’ve gotten around 50 offers to work with me. For some reason, everyone wants to be a VC. Instead of responding, I decided to sit on them. The way I figure it, how someone approaches me is indicative of how they’d approach an entrepreneur. Since the best entrepreneurs are busy running their business and get pinged by VCs all the time, you’re not going to wind up getting a deal if all you do is e-mail once, give up, and walk away.

So what happened? The “applicants” (not that I’m hiring) went 0 for 50. Not a single one of them followed up with even so much as a nudge to see if I saw their note. They mostly just sent resumes and cover letters once and that’s it.

Seriously? (more…)

My three most important lessons learned at Harvard Business School

Reprinted from robgo.org. See the original article here.

By Rob Go

Business school sometimes get a bad rap in the startup world. Some of it is deserved – it’s big opportunity cost, and until fairly recently, the approach to most business schools to entrepreneurship has been more about theory than practice.

Thankfully this is changing. But what is very positive about business school and what hasn’t changed is that they are an amazing collection of people and opportunities that can significantly shape ones education and even personal character. Many of the founders we’ve backed at NextView are graduates of top business schools and bring many of their leanings from those two years to bear.

As I think back on my own business school experience, I often recall three very important lessons and pieces of wisdom that impact me every day. One was academic, one was advice from a professor, and one was self discovered thanks to the entirety of the 2-year experience,

Lesson #1: What Makes a Good Market

Before Business School, I had heard of Porter’s 5 Forces and probably memorized it at one point during preparations for consulting interviews. But I really started to internalize the concept at business school and I think of it every day. When one thinks of attractive markets, it’s easy to just think of markets that are “really big” and “growing fast”. However, that is NOT what makes a market attractive.

A market is attractive relative to the player involved. And its attractiveness to that player is based on how the forces in the market work to make it easier or harder for that player to create and extract value. The forces described by Michael Porter in his framework are:
– bargaining power of suppliers
– bargaining power of Customers
– competitive rivalry
– threat of new entrants
– threat of substitutes

I don’t want to spend much longer on this point, but I’ve found this immensely helpful. And it’s not just important for investors who are analyzing new businesses in different markets. But it also dictates the strategy of a founder as they think about their own market and what they need to do to win.

For some additional thoughts of mine on the difference between BIG markets and ATTRACTIVE markets, see this post here.

Lesson #2: Authenticity Works

Authenticity works. It was an off-hand comment from Felda Hardymon during office hours one day when I was a student in his VC/PE class. But it was a word of wisdom that I really try to take to heart for myself and when speaking to entrepreneurs.

It turns out I’m a pretty socially awkward person. But much of business school (and much of business interaction) are awkward social situations. Think about difficult conversations with employees, cocktail parties, cold calling, negotiations, selling, etc. Those types of situations are a nightmare for someone like me.

But I’ve continuously found that when in doubt, the best thing to do is to drop any social posturing and be authentic. Talk about what really gets you excited and what you really care about. I remember when was interviewing for my job at Spark, one partner questioned my willingness to take risks and pound the table for what I believed. I ended up telling him the story of how I pursued my wife – a very personal but authentic story, and it won him over.

Similar things happen when we speak to entrepreneurs at NextView. We love founding stories that are driven by highly authentic experiences in a market or with a problem. We also love interacting with entrepreneurs that are transparent about the things that excite them about their businesses and the things that they worry about or are really hoping go their way. It’s a highly personal business after all, and we try to put that front and center as a core part of our firm ethos.

Lesson #3: Do the ACTIVITIES You Love

One very interesting aspect of business school is that it can be a 2-year soul searching process about who you are and what you want to do with your life. A lot of business school students find themselves paralyzed, because it feels like there is a lot at stake in the career choice post B-school, especially with large sums of debt and 2-years of opportunity cost.

That said, I think business school is a wonderful time to step back and reflect on what you want out of life professionally and personally. The problem is, I find that when we think about careers or jobs we want, it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of different motivations – what would other people think? How can I make the living I’d like? Is this job impactful? What kind of a role is suitable for me? Etc.

But I find that business school students (and especially myself) often don’t ask what I think is the most important question. To me, that is – “what activities do you love?”. We spend a lot of time at work, and you’d better be doing activities you enjoy, otherwise, it’s a terrible way to spend your time until you die. And activities are not jobs. They are not roles or functions. They are activities.

For instance, being a VC and being a doctor are very different jobs and roles. But some of the activities are the same. Doctors and VC’s meet people 1:1 or 1 on a few all day long. They have a lot of first time meetings and hear people’s stories. They try to solve problems based on pattern recognition. On these dimensions, doctors and VC’s do very similar activities.

But you never hear VC jobs and medical jobs compared. You do hear VC’s and entrepreneurs compared, and many job seekers out of B-school contemplate both paths. But entrepreneurs do different activities. They sell more (or in different ways), they meet very often with their team to solve common problems. They may actively make design and product decisions, talk to prospective customers for feedback etc. The activities can actually be quite different.

I’m not making the point that being a doctor is more like VC than being an entrepreneur. But my point is to look at jobs and life as a set of activities that you are doing all day long. Do those activities map to what you are excited about doing? Are they activities that are life-giving to you, or draining?

Or, put another way (as I’ve heard from an old boss and mentor), think of the times when you were happiest at work. What exactly were you doing at that time? Try to do more of it.

That’s it. Pretty simple. Don’t overthink it or plan too far in the future. Do something that you think is interesting and allows you to spend as much time as possible doing activities you love. I think it’s hard to go wrong if that is actually achieved.

So, those are my three biggest lessons learned from 2 years at HBS. Worth the 2 years and $100K+ of fees? You be the judge

Rob Go is a cofounder of NextView Ventures, a seed stage investment firm focused on internet enabled innovation. He spends as much time as possible working with young entrepreneurs and investing in businesses that are trying to solve important problems for everyday people.

Thoughts on startup org structures and titles

Reprinted from robgo.org. See the original article here.

By Rob Go

I have the benefit of seeing lots of startups pitch their teams and watching many seed-funded companies establish their early org structures. I’ve found that there are certain types of orgs and titles that I have a naturally visceral reaction towards. For example:

– Having any more “C’s” than the CEO and CTO

– Seeing a head of product that isn’t a founder

– Seeing VPs (the more I see, the worse I feel)

Here are some guiding principles that I think explain why I’m averse to these in most cases.

1. You need DO-ers in startups. You are either building or selling, and if someone isn’t doing one of those two, it’s hard to justify having that person on board. It’s actually pretty extraordinary to find a truly VP level or higher person who is actually a do-er. Most of the time, one becomes a VP because they’ve excelled and have progressed to the point where they are leading a team. Their functional skills are a little dated, their mentality is a bit different, and they are just a little (or a lot) less scrappy. Seed and early stage companies are in need of people who like hand-to-hand combat. There will be a time and place for more senior people, but you want to bring them in when they have the chance to be as effective as their seniority would suggest.

2. You need to create room for exceptions and growth. The problem with having an army of VPs and CXO’s is that it eliminates room to really distinguish extraordinary talent. This is when you start seeing titles like “EVP or SVP”, which again is pretty meaningless and frightening. If you do want to bring in someone much more senior, usually that person is an outlier. Make the outlier role the VP role, not something else weird. I noticed this to be true at many extraordinary companies. I remember looking at the early org at Twitter (even when there were dozens of people) and there was maybe one or two VP’s. Most of the leaders of their divisions (product, business development, etc) were directors and stayed that way. I also am biased because even at Ebay, when it was a public company, VP’s were pretty few and far between. Being a Director meant you were directing something significant. I think that’s appropriate.

3. Some may object to my first two points and say “I can’t recruit people because they won’t take a lateral role or anything less than a VP title.”. My answer to that is – you don’t want those people. Early stage companies need to be free of politics and that kind of ego. Everyone talks about wanting a flat culture. But I find that title focused people don’t really want flat, they just want to be as close to the top as possible. Earlier today, I stumbled upon the team page of a seed funded startup in Boston, and saw 7 VP-level and higher people NOT including the CEO. That’s so not-flat, I guess it’s almost flat!

4. Even better than my suggestions above, how about not even having titles at all? Just describe people based on their areas of focus and responsibility. It’s impractical for a large company, but not for a small company. Check out the team at ThredUp. Aside from the CEO and CTO, you see almost no other titles, just descriptors of what people actually do.

5. I’ll get in trouble with some of my friends on this, but I also think that the best companies are founded by product-oriented founders. As a result, I almost always second-guess a team when there is a senior “Head of Product” that is NOT one of the founders. Usually, I’d hope that the head of product is actually the CEO or CTO, at least at the seed stage. You just can’t punt on product decisions at the earliest stages of the company – the founders need to be able to make the calls. Also, external heads of product are often not folks who are great product designers, but are more librarians than poets. Seed stage products need to be inspired by poets, and you can hire librarians later to build a scaleable product process.

Rob Go is a cofounder of NextView Ventures, a seed stage investment firm focused on internet enabled innovation. He spends as much time as possible working with young entrepreneurs and investing in businesses that are trying to solve important problems for everyday people.

Tough calls: How 40 CEOs made their career-defining decisions

Reprinted from wamda.com. See the original article here

By Knowledge@Wharton

CEOs make decisions — that is their job. Every decision, however, does not carry the same weight. Many are routine; some are significant. A few — a rare few — are momentous. These decisions determine not only the trajectory of the firm for years to come, but also, most likely, define the CEO’s career and establish her or his legacy. Harlan Steinbaum, former chairman and CEO of Medicare-Glaser, one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the U.S., calls such decisions “defining moments.”

Steinbaum’s own defining moment came during the 1970s when he and his partners decided to buy back their company from the conglomerate to which they had sold it. Before the sale, Medicare-Glaser, which was founded by Steinbaum’s father-in-law in 1923, was a successful chain of drugstores and pharmacies, but it faced increasing competition from rivals such as Walgreen’s. Hoping to compete more effectively as part of a large, well-capitalized company, Steinbaum and his partners in 1972 sold the company to Pet, a conglomerate listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Soon, however, Steinbaum realized that bureaucratic red tape and an aversion to risk threatened to stifle his former company’s entrepreneurial culture. At the risk of taking on significant debt, he and his colleagues bought back the company in a leveraged buyout — but they also set it on track for future growth and success that it could never have hoped to enjoy as part of Pet. (more…)

Endeavor Entrepreneur Rodrigo Jordan: What do mountain guides and entrepreneurs have in common? [Transcript]

Endeavor is pleased to make public the following transcript from a presentation at the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. The event, which assembled over 450 entrepreneurs and global business leaders, featured dozens of entrepreneurship-related presentations by top CEOs and industry experts.

Overview: Endeavor Entrepreneur Rodrigo Jordan, Founder and President of Vertical, combines his mountaineering leadership skills with his professional business leadership experience in this compelling presentation about the importance of developing human resource strategies.

Bio: Rodrigo Jordan is the Founder and President of Instituto Vertical in Chile. He has been an Endeavor Entrepreneur since 1998. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Development from Oxford University and a Civil Industrial Engineering degree from the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Chile.

Jordan is considered one of Latin America’s most accomplished mountaineers, having led several successful expeditions to the Himalayas and Antarctica, including Everest in 1992, K2 in 1996, Everest again in 2004 and Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest mountain, in 2006. In 2008, he participated in kayaking expeditions to Antarctica (with National Geographic) and Greenland to document the impact of climate change on the world’s glacial masses. Jordan has authored a number of books and documentaries based on these expeditions including Everest: The Challenge of A Dream, K2: The Ultimate Challenge, Planet Antarctica and Antarctica/Greenland: Expeditions to the Heart of Climate Change.

He is the author of Leadership: From Theory to Practice (Spanish, Prentice-Hall 2008) and was the host of Leadership in Person, a TV show interviewing Chile’s most important leaders. In addition, he serves as Professor of Leadership and Decision Making in the MBA program at the PUC School of Business. Jordan regularly runs seminars on leadership to a wide variety of clients throughout Latin America and beyond, including extensive work with the Wharton Leadership Ventures program.
Jordan also directs Fundación Vertical, the non-for profit arm of Instituto Vertical that serves underprivileged students from the poorest schools in Chile, as well as promoting the enjoyment, responsible use and conservation of the environment.

Full transcript:

Rodrigo: I became an entrepreneur by force. It wasn’t my idea. I climbed Mt. Everest and came back. I decided I wanted to have a foundation to encourage social skills in children in schools which didn’t have the chance to learn anything about human relations. They learned about math or Spanish or sciences, but nothing about how to behave themselves among other people. And that foundation grew up very well. Suddenly we jumped because corporate started demanding our services. So we started the company, because of demand, not because of impulse. And because doing that we started guiding people into mountains – I’m a climber, not a mountain guide – I became a mountain guide. And when I say I became, I really studied hard in the UK and the US and took courses. (more…)

Founder focus: don’t kill your startup with 1,000 trivial tasks

Reprinted from onstartups.com. See the original article here.

By Noah Kagan

A few weeks ago I had wine with some very successful entrepreneurs. How successful? On their best days they were generating $100,000 a DAY in revenue. That’s $36,500,000 a year.

Insanity, huh?

But what was the most surprising thing to me was that they were STILL doing their own data entry and dealing with small clients.

Holy crap. Think of it this way:

Let’s calculate their hourly sales:
$100,000 / 8 hours a day = $12,500
Divided by 2 guys = $6,250 / per hour

Do you see where I am about go with this?

After spitting out my wine, I started berating them with hate words about how dumb they are and why aren’t they focusing on higher-value things for their business?

Their response?

“We want to make sure it gets done right.”

Ahh, now it makes sense. They have Jewish mothers and are control freaks.

This is something I had a problem with myself, once upon a time: We want to do everything ourselves, which means we aren’t focusing on the highest-value things we can be doing for our business.

I used to do the same kind of data entry. I’d write up the emails for AppSumo.com, do customer support emails (which I actually like, most of the time), and other low-level things.

It all changed when my buddy Joe from MyChurch opened me up to outsourcing.

“Come on, Joe. Those people are crappy and it’s so weird,” I said.

He finally convinced me, so I had Nimesh Mehta at $4 / hour start aggregating certain data from me.


It wasn’t about outsourcing to India. It WAS about maximizing the best use of my time.

As an example: what do you think is a better use of my hour?

1. Writing this article that hopefully gets 500+ people to discover and check out AppSumo.com, or
2. Doing data entry to put a new deal in our system.

Take a guess.

Writing this article, of course! It generates way more value which is a way more ROI / value / monetizable use of my time.

Coming back to how you can save yourself before it’s too late:

– Start small. When hiring other people to do your tasks, you need to be concise in your instructions. Delegating is a skill (not a talent) gained from experience.

– Think investment. Don’t think of outsourcing as a cost. I LOVE hiring for AppSumo!

– Guard your time. Next time you think about doing something, think if you are REALLY adding value (i.e. only your special skills can do it) or if someone whose value of time is lower could handle the task instead, thereby freeing you up for better things.

That’s fine and all, you might be thinking, but aren’t there some seemingly trivial tasks that keep me closer to the business? Like customer support– how do you find the right balance between outsourcing/delegating and maintaining the little things that make the business differentiated and special?

Trivial tasks will never go away. Invest in the things that matter. Wow, I can throw a few more cliches just to finish off the article nicely.

Look, if support is going to be a differentiater like we want it to be at AppSumo then we don’t try to pass off phone support, live-chat, email, etc. to a lower wage person. But processing refunds, merging email accounts and helping the customers get what they want can be passed off.

I guess the ultimate balance comes from identifying what is important to you. I still like updating Excel each month with my finances vs. using Mint.com (which I helped build). Doesn’t make it the “right” choice, but it makes me happy.

A helpful tip to see how you can start evaluating what you want to delegate is to literally write out your entire day by tasks. I did this with Andrew Warner from Mixergy.com too and it seemed really helpful. Then pick out the things that are high-value or you personally get value from doing. Keep those. The rest of the stuff, get someone else.

What do you think? Have you identified the key areas to apply your time and energy, and shifted the rest? What’s working for you?

This article was written by Noah Kagan, the Chief Sumo at AppSumo.com (#1 ecommerce site for entrepreneurs). He was employee #4 at Mint.com and employee #30 at Facebook.

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