Building Some Scaffolding
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Why Company Values Are Important And How They Can Help You Work Better
Things are going well. I’ve decided to give myself a time limit of 1 hr for how long I spend writing my posts so that I don’t get intimidated with an unknown time requirement — part of the reason I haven’t written in a couple weeks. Hopefully this experiment is positive. I started writing this at 4pm on Tues, Mar 13. Let’s get this to the press by 5:30pm with tweets and social media scheduled for tomorrow.
The past couple weeks have been busy.
I’ve spoken to 20 to 30 customers while building out different iterations of the Virtual Reality rentals and services product line. We now have a fairly functional website with a footer that can help you navigate throughout the site. You should check it out, and if you’re interested place a rental.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is time management. There are simply so many things to work on that you can easily get lost without a clear plan. One key tactic I’ve chosen to prioritize is an increase in website and social media content in order to try to drive more website traffic. This is often time-intensive work that could easily take up most of my time if I did it myself. It’s made worse, because I tend to spend extra time perfecting something whereas someone else can get 95% there and I can help finish it off fairly quickly.
So I decided to begin hiring freelancers.
As I made my way to this decision, I realized I had to be more clear about some aspects of my company’s values. It became increasingly clear to me that company values do two important things for a young company. First, they establish the ambitions of the company — what are you asking people to spend part of their life doing? And second, they establish a framework for making decisions — if you hit a roadblock, are you expected to go work on something else or do we make it our job to work as a team to solve problems and be successful?
For Visionary Rentals, our ambition is to use virtual reality and other new technologies to bring efficiencies to the workplace. We are refining this as we go, and our first foray is renting the devices so that you can get a glimpse of how the future of technology can help you be more productive.
All our company values should maintain a long-term focus, because Virtual Reality is only in its infancy. The hardware is barely powerful enough to run the current experiences, but with new technological improvements to encryption and compression, we are likely closer to a near-ideal VR experience than we realize. Therefore, we won’t let short term gains distract us from our long-term goal. Plus, I want to build a company that is good for its people, a place you’d want to retire after a long career. I want to ‘be like Bill and build a good company’ as Ben Horowitz so succinctly put it in ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’.
Regarding the framework that the company values brings, it’s so important while you are in the eye of the storm (and that’s what it is like to be a founder — with everything around you needing near-constant attention until you can master the chaos and outsource it). A framework of your values will help you evaluate decisions quickly. You won’t need to waste time exploring an idea or an option, because it won’t get you closer to your long term goal. This sometimes mean that you’re willing to take a short term risk in order to build out some infrastructure or documentation that will help you continue to progress, even if the chance of success is not guaranteed.
As we’ve progressed these past few weeks, the chaos of the storm has become more predictable. I need help with social media and content posts. I’m too focused on building features instead of making sales.
Which brings me back to freelancers.
As the CEO of a company, it’s not my role to do everything. It’s my role to make sure that everything gets done. When I can’t do it myself, I need to delegate it. When my team doesn’t have the right skills, I need to outsource or hire. It’s a frame of mind that I need to codify in our company values, because we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be blocked when we can find a solution.
The decision to hire a freelancer was easy for me once I evaluated it within this framework, because even though there will be extra work in finding and training these people, I also know that my goal is to hire freelancers to do mostly high quality work that I can then clean up for our growth strategies. If I can grow Visionary Rentals big enough, then I will hire someone to manage all of the freelancers. I need to always be thinking about how I will scale the company while establishing and maintaining a great culture.
This entire process brought me through a decision process that resulted in me finally deciding to hire outside help with the chance to increase my company’s content generation from rarely to daily. All for a price I could afford after I truly started to look.
I’ll talk about how I found the vendors another time. For now, I’m just happy that I’ve stumbled up on a framework that will help me grow over the next few weeks, months, and years.
With 100 claps, I’m happy to talk about sourcing vendors for writing posts and social media next week.