I am assuming that you have a business where there is money coming in and it is more than the money that is going out on expenses like salaries, software and paying vendors and partners, and other fixed expenses.
If not, then first work on bringing money in. Make it your One Thing.
Spend your time doing anything that brings money in.
If you are busy delivering what you sold, stop doing that as soon as you can and bring operators, skilled people, employees, and freelancers to do it for you.
Because you should not be spending time on delivering what you sell. This keeps most founders small and their time tied to their work.
So spend time doing whatever brings money to your business.
This is the first good use of an entrepreneur’s time.
Think of how you can bring money in, by one time big effort.
To make it work, you need repeat buyers.
Repeat buyers are better than one-time buyers, so find out opportunities where you can sell something to your customers where they can get ongoing value and you can get money month after month. It can be through a service or product.
Almost every business can build recurring revenue if they think hard enough. When the donations for charity: water, a global NGO that provides drinking water to people in developing nations, reached a ceiling, the founder Scott Harrison launched The Spring, a monthly donation program. It gave a significant boost to their funding and now they have reached $100 million in annual funding.
Watch this interesting video they made to pitch this idea with a story that touches your heart.
They were creative and had a good cause, but anyone can think of creative ways to do this in their business.
This brings us to our next thing which is to find people to deliver what you sell.
This is connected to the first point of bringing more money into the business.
Imagine standing on top of your business literally where you can see all parts of your business running and moving. See who all are delivering what you are selling. If you are a small business then you probably will see yourself. So replace yourself first. Bring someone who can deliver.
When you spend time on these two things – bringing money in and replacing yourself from delivering what you sell, you’ll be able to sell more, and business will grow, so you’ll need more people, so hiring will always be a good use of your time. Even when you are not hiring, meet with those who can be future hires.
Another good use of an entrepreneur’s time is documenting.
Document what you don’t like doing. And then find tools and software to do that thing and automating those bits of business.
Always document what you are doing for the first time so that those who come in later, won’t have to ask how something is done.
Documenting how something is done, should become part of the culture so that everyone who is doing something for the first time documents what they are doing and helps others who come in after them as the team grows.
Next up, spend time on learning by reading or listening to podcasts to learn from those who have been there and done that. Also find time to think, absorb and note how you can apply what you are reading, watching, or listening to in your own life and business.
Every quarter or once every six months, go away and do something totally different and unrelated to what you do at work, without worrying about how you’ll use it in your business. Steve Jobs didn’t know that the calligraphy classes he took will help in creating unique interfaces for Mac. This is super important for getting unstuck and coming up with new ideas.
And now to something which is the best use of an entrepreneur’s time. Self-care. This is the most important. Block time for it, to sleep, to move, to rejuvenate. It is good if you keep a good 9-10 hours for this, including sleep.
Through all this make sure that you are not doing the same thing in your business, for more than six months, except something that you really love doing. That’s the only way to grow.