Why this post? Because I believe startups can benefit greatly when they organize their value creating activities, via online tools, to minimize waste. In a startup, especially one working towards Product/Market-Fit, you are continuously switching between activities. The most effective startups manage this pull between ‘inside the building’ and ‘outside the building’ activities and the different schedules of the people involved, whether they are managers or makers. The key element is to identify all the value creating activities and organizing them in such a way that it reduces waiting and context switching, to achieve flow. As defined by Womak/Jones in their book“Lean Thinking” (a must-read):
When we start thinking about the ways to line up essential steps to get a job done to achieve a steady continuous flow with no wasted energy, batches, or queues, it changes everything including how we collaborate and the tools we devise to get the job done.
Focus on allocation, delegation, automation and leadership; optimizing these activities gets more things done. Why? Because you don’t want to trade time for money. Danny Iny wrote an excellent post about that and even wrote a book about it.
Here are a few questions to ask before batching activities:
- Which of my activities requires feedback from others?;
- Which of my activities have tangible outcomes;
- Does the activity challenge me.
So now we have covered the "why", let’s move on to the tools, which allow you to scale flow in a startup on a personal and team level.
Trello – Use Kanban For Project Overview
is a great way for visualizing the work that needs to be done, plan and collaborate. By organizing your projects into boards, you can see in a glimpse; who is working on what and what they are working on and where someone is at in the process in case somebody can help out.
Spending a little time upfront to automate routine task goes a long way. When putting yourself out there, in terms of content, you want to engage a wide audience. Su.pr is such a tool since you have the StumbleUpon community behind it. I have been using it for quite some time and it allows you to share and promote your content on Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon at once. You are able to track the link real-time, since Su.pr provides you with statistics regarding the number of StumbleUpon (SU) reviews, the number of retweets, numbers of click throughs and even the traffic source for the past 30 days.
Since Su.pr is part of the StumbleUpon family, it has an enormous community of readers (over 20 million) looking to read your post. Unlike other link shortening services, Su.pr gives you the additional benefit of your link going viral within StumbleUpon’s network. Average lifetime a post gets on SU is over a month, which allows more people to discover the link over the course of time. Just make sure you also click the thumbnail photo next to your posts and write a short review for each article. If you pick the proper category and the keyword tags, you will attract readers who are interested in your specified content that are looking specifically for your niche content.
come in. (For a more in depth review of Su.pr, check out 20 Million Reasons To Use Su.pr ).
Tool 3 & 4: CrowdBooster & Buffer App – Some Followers are More Equal Then Others
Being involved in several other activities, you want to reach your audience at the best times to make sure you don’t fill up their subscriber’s inbox. When you look beyond the clicks, you want your audience to actually engage with your content. For startups, or any other business, it is key to know their target audience. The solution: dual use of the infamous CrowdBooster and the Buffer App.
This ideal couple of tools gives you an array of interesting statistics and analytics about your Twitter account and followers, including how your tweets are doing in terms of reach, the most influential users who have interacted with your content and when the most optimal times to tweet are.
You can take this last bit of information from Su.Pr and head on over to the Buffer App and manually input these optimal times as your ‘scheduled’ post times so you are sure to reach your most active followers. These are the people that you want to include in your customer development interviews. For everybody else, we have Survey.io.
Tool 5: Survey.io – Online Customer Development
Most of the time it’s gut feeling that determines whether your product is good enough. Something that hits you or just feels right. Trying to scale to early, can easily kill your startup.
Introducing: Survey.io, an objective metric that also gives lots of important qualitative information back.
The key question on which the survey revolves is focused on the emotion, which a customer would experience if he or she no longer could use the product. The key here is to get over the magical 40%. Then there is a great chance you can build sustainable, scalable customer acquisition growth on your “must have” product.
Flow & Work Hacks
These are just a few tools to automate, collaborate and delegate, which should make life easier and scale flow beyond yourself. In a startup context: Ash Maurya is sharing his experiences in his
where he also provides ways to scale beyond yourself and organize your activities to reach flow on a daily and weekly basis by pitching in a few
How do you organize your activities for flow and get things done?
Stefanos Karakasis (
) is a Startup Marketer at rockstart accelerator (
), a new program that helps the most promising teams from around the world to launch their startups and break through on a global scale.