August 27, 2021

What Free Time Gets You

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In case you missed it, read part one of the series: "Shedding Hats as a Founder."

My last post talked about the need for founders to shed hats or hire around themselves to help the business scale. Shedding hats, or reducing functional responsibilities, will result in more free time for you. So what do you do with that newly found free time?

The answer is simple and a cliché: spend more time working ON the business versus IN it. Many people call that spending more time on strategy now that you have brought on more people to help with the execution of that strategy. Working on the business manifests itself in different ways for different people.

Someone like Warren Buffet finds time to work on his business by keeping his same morning ritual of grabbing some McDonald’s, a Coke and the morning paper to stay up to date on current events. People like Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos get away from everything to have “think time” in the form of hours, days or weeks.

At ASG, we work on our business through collaboration tactics. Our leadership team meets weekly to discuss near-term strategy and implementation, and we go “off-site” once a quarter to talk about the bigger picture and plan for the coming year. Whatever strategy you feel will best position your business for success and best suits your personality is what you should manage to do. All that matters is you do it.

So what are the benefits to working ON the business?

The biggest change I’ve seen from IN to ON is the timeline that you think about the business. Working IN the business, you focus on tasks to solve immediate problems that you are experiencing in the here and now. It may be a needy customer, a new sale, the current tech sprint you’re focused on or a near-term hire. 

Working ON the business forces you to think about what may happen in the next quarter all the way up to 5-10 years from now. It’s looking at the market and forecasting what your team, product or strategy will need to look like to either maintain your position or move up on the leaderboard. It also means that the gratification you experience will not be instant, as it will take time to prove if you were right or wrong with your decisions and changes. That delayed gratification will take getting used to, so remember to stay patient and be diligent.

Shedding those hats will result in the gift of time, our most valuable asset. Utilize that time to work on the business. Once you do that, you’ll find that it’s tough to go back!

Give it a try and let me know what you think. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.


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