How should i slice my time in various activities involved in a startup


This is my first post to this forum. I started a company offering outsourced software product development few months back. Things were moving slowly so far with myself doing all the coding for entire day. Now with steady cash flow, i have hired couple of developers.
In a typical day i do things like (approx 12 hours per day) -
1)training people on good technical habits
2)doing code reviews
3)handling client calls
4)helping out team members/coding
6)and most importantly doing sales, marketing and branding for growth

My question to forum is - what percentage/time slice in 12 hours day, should i give to various activities especially marketing & sales?


Time Management

asked Sep 17 '11 at 16:33
Ameya Phadke
56 points

3 Answers


First, welcome to the group.

As for your question, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach that work. It all depends on the million different variables. You need to see what needs attention first.

Consider a 2x2 matrix which includes what is important vs. not important on one side and urgent vs. non-urgent on the other side. Make sure you take care of the important urgent stuff first.

If you find yourself spending too much time on the urgent non-important stuff, then you know you are trapped into time-wasting activities and you need to restructure things.

Definitely put client calls on the top of your list - it's much more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one.

answered Sep 17 '11 at 16:40
1,194 points
  • I am sorry, i think i should have been more specific - Being a start up, i feel, i should be spending more time on finding new leads along with other activities. But I feel dissatisfied when i spend 10 hours in a day looking for leads. So, what has worked for you guys in terms of time you spend on finding leads? e.g. 3/4 hours per day but doing it consistently through out the week? – Ameya Phadke 12 years ago
  • It depends on how quickly you want to grow. Yes, new leads are important but there are many ways to do that. I had an IT consulting firm and we grew through networking. Because of this, I only spent about 1 hour per week generating new leads. – John 12 years ago


Thank you so much for your question.

There are two incredibly important angles I need to throw your way. The first is about time management, to be expected. The second is about lead generation/customer retention.

I agree with John about the urgent vs important. However, I don't think we can stress enough that focusing on important tasks is critical. You've probably heard of the 80/20 rule. 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort and time. This is true. So, how do we fill up an entire workday, then, and still feel like nothing was accomplished?

Seemingly urgent tasks. Things like email, phone calls, and meetings come to mind. I disagree that you need to be taking every phone call. Somebody should be, but it doesn't have to be you. And hey, if you can't get to the phone right away because you're vastly improving the UI on the software I license from you, then I'll be happy if you get back to me tomorrow. Be sure to explain this to me, your hypothetical customer, however.

Regarding time management tactics. Schedule everything. I fought this for a long time, but finally giving in to this advice has made a world of difference for me. It prevents thinking about your next task. If it's already written down, just do it, and ignore those pesky emails until a specified time, for a set duration.

Next, customer retention. If you already have customers, I would work on making them ecstatic about your product and/or service. Spending 10 hours on lead generation is wasteful. Use that time, instead, to interact with your current users, making the product better for them. If somebody inquires about your business, of course, treat them with the same level of attention, but don't go searching for new business.

Focus on making your current clients so happy that they will spread the word about your services.


Gary Vaynerchuk on caring your face off Read:

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

answered Sep 18 '11 at 05:25
Ryan Chatterton
921 points
  • I want to apologize for not finding a good video on the 80/20 thing. All the ones I found out there weren't from reputable sources, and all the sources I tried to find didn't have videos on that topic, oddly. I'm really, really sorry. :( – Ryan Chatterton 12 years ago


well done for getting your business started!

I humbly suggest that nobody else is qualified to tell you how much time to allocate to these activities, if only because only you know how quickly you can complete each one.

Please bear in mind that the most successful people manage their activities, because that is the only manageable element. Time & tide wait for no-one.

answered Oct 12 '11 at 00:10
John Holder
1 point

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