How to Successfully Found Two Businesses (at the Exact Same Time)
While many people enter entrepreneurship to become their own boss, it’s no secret that being an entrepreneur often requires going well beyond the typical 9-5. True, some entrepreneurs might find themselves with free time, but many report working as many as 95 hours a week, or otherwise being “always on” to address their business's needs.
Prepare to delegate — a lot
Delegation and outsourcing are key to not finding yourself overwhelmed with the day-to-day responsibilities of more than one businesses. You need to think critically about which things actually require your attention, and what you can entrust to employees, a freelancer or an outside agency.
Naturally, a big part of successful delegation comes from hiring the right teams and working with the right co-founders from the get-go. Co-founders should share your philosophy and vision and be able to handle most operations. An expert freelancer can greatly reduce your burden in areas that aren’t in your wheelhouse.
Track your time spent with each business
A common trap experienced by those who found multiple businesses is that one company will inevitably get more of their time and attention than the other. This often leads to a situation where one business thrives while the other withers. To avoid this, hold yourself accountable to how you use your time.
Rob Finlay, founder and CEO of Thirty Capital, has founded and sold multiple businesses, including many companies that he was running at the same time, and he recommends mega-entrepreneurs “start by scheduling out how much time you will devote to each team each day. For example, you spend your morning hours with the marketing and sales team of Business A, and your afternoon doing triage on logistics for Business B."
But he also cautions that "you need to make sure you are using these hours effectively. A time-tracking tool will enable you to see how many hours you are spending on each task, as well as whether your efforts are focused on meaningful KPIs."
Use a single location for both businesses
While you need to keep your businesses separate in terms of their legal structure, founders often benefit by using a single location for their work with both companies. This makes it much easier to remain involved with each company on a daily basis. It also makes transitioning back and forth between companies much easier to manage, as you won’t be wasting time commuting. (This should be even more of an inuitive choice in the work-from-home era.)
A joint location can ultimately help you save money and even foster collaborations between teams, allowing you to use your time and resources more efficiently so each business can be better positioned to succeed. Perhaps most importantly, a single location will put less strain on you physically, mentally and emotionally, helping avoid burnout.
Benchmark successful processes
When starting multiple businesses, you actually have an advantage in being able to identify and benchmark successful processes for use in both companies. As Elon Musk says, “If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.”
When running multiple businesses, you’re effectively making two cakes at once. However, this can actually help you speed up the completion of business plans and initiatives. When you’ve already proven the format and process for one company, you can benchmark it for your next business adventure to save time and energy. This likewise applies to choosing what tools or platforms to use to run business operations.
Even when your businesses operate in completely different niches, you can still draw lessons from their disparate successes and setbacks that apply across the board. When you find a process that makes a dramatic difference for one company, chances are it will also work wonders for the other.
With more information coming in on a daily basis, it ultimately becomes that much easier for you to test and implement processes and practices that improve the bottom lines of both businesses.
Founding and running multiple businesses at the same time can be incredibly challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. By using these methods to ensure you are using your time appropriately and giving each company the attention it deserves, you can put all of your entrepreneurial ventures on the path to success.