Foundation or Optimization?

When you start out with any idea, any project, you have very limited resources. And so, how do you decide how to allocate those resources? Your time and your money.

I learned this lesson the hard way. Back when I was running my laundry startup, we spent so much time and money looking for a magical piece of software that can help us automate our entire workflow — everything from new customer onboarding, scheduled pick-ups and drop-offs, payment processing, and automated text message reminders. We wanted an all-in-one solution, and we spent so much time on this.

What we later realized was, we could’ve handed this entire workflow to one of our employees. I mean, in those early days we didn’t have thousands of customers, and so he could’ve easily handled that.

Think about it this way: if you’re a chef that wanted to start a restaurant, opening that restaurant is an optimization. You really don’t need it on day one. What you do need is a way for you to test and validate your recipes and your dishes. Opening that restaurant will drive growth at a later stage.

So as an entrepreneur when you’re faced with a cost or an activity, ask yourself this: is this cost or is this activity taking me from zero to one? Or is this an optimization that will help me grow at a later stage? And allocate your resources accordingly.

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