Value can mean several different things in the business world, especially as it pertains to entrepreneurship and building a business.
Not only is there the monetary value of your product or service, but also the value of your time and how you use it when trying to scale a business.
When I spoke with Mark Alayev, CEO of Thread, we talked about value and several of its different meanings, and I think there’s something to be said for more closely examining what value means to your business.
If you didn’t catch the livestream of my chat with Mark, you can watch the full video of our interview here (or click the image below!):
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“I think the hardest thing to understand as an entrepreneur is value,” Mark said. “You need to value yourself, and you need to value your company’s time.”
What he means by this is that entrepreneurs and CEOs need to understand how they can be most effective in their roles as they work to inject value into their products and services.
Your business is like your baby in many ways; many of us have grown them from the ground up.
It’s a truly unique kind of professional experience, and it can be hard to loosen the reigns and allow some distance to exist between yourself and this child that you’ve created.
One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is to realize when you need to take a step back at some point and delegate company operations to others so you can use your finite time to focus on more important growth initiatives.
“It’s hard to delegate,” Mark said. “It’s really hard to give away control. But the only way you can work on the company versus working in the company is by finding great people and trusting them to take a leap.”
Time is one of the most valuable resources CEOs and founders have, and it takes most of us far too long to figure out how to value and use our time correctly—especially as our businesses scale.
It’s also important to understand the difference between the value of your time and money when growing a startup.
Though many of us tend to think of value as pertaining to investments or revenue for our growing companies, Mark says more founders, especially of founders of early-stage companies, should look to time-based goals as their markers for success and when to pivot their focus.
Speaking about a previous company he started that didn’t come to fruition, Mark said:
“My biggest disappointment is that I quit, and I realized that people quit because they set financial goals or financial barriers like, ‘Hey, if I don’t have money to do this, I’ll quit.’ But I think it should be time-driven. Any entrepreneurial effort that you have should be like, ‘Hey, I have five years to get to the first milestone.’ And then if I do hit that milestone, ‘I’ll renew for another five years.’ You’re not investing your money necessarily; what you’re investing into is your time.”
Rather than measuring all of your value in terms of investment dollars or revenue, consider time as a key value indicator, too.
Of course, though, we can’t completely discount the value of financials for a growing business.
How you value your products and services can send a strong message to potential customers.
“Don’t charge T&M. Don’t charge $80.00 a seat a month,” Mark said. “Charge the $300, charge the $200. Value your business. Your unit of economics will get better. You’ll be able to provide [customers] with better service, they’ll like it more, and they’ll feel justified.”
“But if you ever waiver in your value,” he said, “that will be felt throughout the whole buyers’ journey. If you feel like you’re worth 80 bucks, the other person will feel like you’re worth 80 bucks. If you feel like you’re worth $300, you’ll act like you’re worth $300, and they’ll feel like you’re worth $300.”
Understanding value can be tricky, not because it’s a complicated topic, but because it can be very nuanced and personal to the individual.
The value of your time or the time it takes to reach certain milestones is almost ephemeral. While it’s relatively straightforward to measure investments or revenue earned in a month, quarter, or year, measuring the value of time is much more difficult.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Consider how you measure value in your company, and if you’re looking at time when doing so, or only the financial metrics.
It just might be that you could benefit from a deeper understanding of what value means to you and how you can adjust these definitions to increase your likelihood of success.
I had a great time chatting with Mark and we covered so much more than what value can mean for your business.
Watch the full video above for more insights from my talk with Mark and, if you’re a channel CEO, let me know if you want to be interviewed next!
Let’s do this.
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