What can you do to employ the ROI mindset to yourself and your business?
Editor’s note four additional installments in this Unemployable Millionaire Entrepreneur series: The Day I Got Fired Was One of the Best Days of My Life , Adapt, Improvise, Overcome…or Perish, Embrace Curiosity!, Don’t Think!
When one thinks of the words Return On Investment – or ROI -, it conjures up a well used expression from the world of finance or real estate. Typically, it represents a form of profitability and performance on an investment made in relation to its cost. In other words, what did I get back from what I put in and how long did it take? However, there may be a different way of thinking about ROI for entrepreneurs to get maximum return on your time and effort.
Ask yourself questions
To get started, get into the ROI mindset and ask yourself a few questions. What is your ROI on professional studies for your craft or career? How about the ROI on time spent (or wasted) on social media, or the ROI on time spent on a specific part of a project you’re doing? Is it worth the time you’re spending to make it better? Will it make a difference to the client or end result? If the answer is yes, forge ahead. If the answer is no, then move on and complete the job.
One way I’ve found to get higher overall ROI is to make a conscious effort to simplify ideas. “The act of stripping things down to the bare essentials creates a certain elegance that you wouldn’t have seen if you try to keep the original problem in all its complexity”, noted Terrance Tao in an online class. Tao is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest living mathematicians and is on President Joe Biden’s Council Of Advisors on Science and Technology. While it may seem unusual to invoke the words and ideas of a mathematician in regards to ROI, they are typically quite skilled at breaking down problems to find solutions – often our objective as entrepreneurs.
Back to more heated questions. When faced with a dilemma or creative problem, you can ask yourself how do I solve this problem and learn from the experience at the same time? The answer is often directly related to Tao’s advice – simplify every element you can and attack from there. For example, I use this almost daily when writing TV cues, of which I have to work quickly and efficiently to maximize my ROI of creative time. If I find I’m writing myself into a corner with something too complex, I will consciously make the decision to strip it down and remove some chords or notes from a melody line. Often I remind myself when doing this, “good enough for the Beatles, good enough for me!”. I’ve done this literally hundreds of times over the years and it works. Take out the complex parts and deliver the stripped down goods.
Aside from simplifying your ideas, approaching your entrepreneur task list in the same way can provide great ROI for your time. For example, when creating my daily or weekly “To Do” list, I don’t fill it up with tasks to trick the mind into thinking “wow, i’m busy”. In fact, I do just the opposite. I approach it as “how few things can I have on my list instead of how many things?” This way, I can focus all my efforts on those things that matter and provide a better return on my investment of time. In my head I’m thinking Strip Down > Simplify > Maximize.
What can you do to employ the ROI mindset to yourself and your business? If ROI can apply to financial investments as a metric of performance, why not use it in your daily life as an entrepreneur? Try to streamline what you put in to maximize what you get out.