𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗝𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗙𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿
Updated: May 27
As a performer, juggling is impressive.
As a founder, it's essential.
You may be trying to handle countless projects simultaneously, for example, balancing a marketing campaign, producing fundraising materials, hiring new people, and navigating a vendor selection process in a foreign country all in the same hour. And every hour brings more projects, questions, and requests.
For your business to scale successfully, you must prioritize and balance business initiatives competently. These include major initiatives to help the company grow revenues, expand operations, and become more efficient.
“The world cannot be governed without juggling.”
– John Selden
Here are some tips for juggling more effectively:
Determine success. As a performer, the dream of becoming the best juggler possible has many different meanings: to keep the objects in the air for a record amount of time, to toss increasingly dangerous things into the air, or to give a unique show (maybe by juggling both feathers and bowling balls).
Some founders pursue a vision with little understanding of what they actually want. The desire to solve a specific problem or build a publicly traded company are both reasonable dreams but may be approached very differently.
Choose how many objects (of attention). Every juggler has their limit. To start, keeping three things in the air is vastly easier than four. Most people can quickly learn to juggle three objects1 even though the learning curve is steep; however, adding even one more item can be exponentially more complex.
As a founder, you want to manage the most items possible without dropping any. I’ve seen many first-time founders try to keep ten or more “priorities” in the air and consequently get upset when none of them are resolved. You should narrow your attention to five major business initiatives. You may be able to handle up to seven, but sticking to five allows you to respond to a couple of unexpected emergencies if needed.
To be clear, it’s fine if you have hundreds of business initiatives as long as you concentrate on the ones that will be most impactful now.
If I were your COO, I’d urge you to define the best ways to move forward and encourage you to seek advice from mentors, the team, clients, and friends willing to tell you candidly where they would focus now.
One potential approach: "Hi, I'm just starting my journey and want to focus my energy and capture new opportunities. Since you're further ahead, I'd like to know if we can talk soon about ___ as I hope to reach your success in a few years.”
Examine each area. As a juggler, you would want to inspect your objects to ensure they are ready, especially if you handle dangerous items like knives or chainsaws.
As a founder, you are balancing numerous responsibilities such as developing new products, meeting potential investors, and generating new business. While you may run many areas initially, there will come a time when you need to delegate responsibility to others.
If your business is consistently growing, you cannot take all responsibility—but you need to ensure accountability. Delegation is essential to scale effectively. Invest in your leaders by ensuring they understand the company’s objectives and values clearly. Examine their skills to see if they need to level up through training, mentoring, or coaching.
Delegation is actually a form of juggling responsibility.
Exist in the moment. When juggling, you cannot be distracted by someone in the audience coughing or a car honking outside. You cannot be worried about something from the past or your next performance. You need to be fully present and concentrate on the tasks at hand.
As a business leader, you will need time to plan strategically. Still, your success will largely be determined by flawlessly executing your plans. The show is happening now. When it’s time to perform, live in the moment so you can assess the team, ensure quality and delivery, and make any adjustments as needed.
Measure progress constantly. After the juggling show, you need to gauge how the performance went. You may measure ticket and merchandise sales, survey the audience, or look at social media after each event. As a founder, look at similar metrics to gauge growth.
The goal is to keep improving. If you get 1% better daily you will be thirty-seven times better in a year. This fact is true for you as a leader navigating a sea of countless decisions and for your business as your market, team, and industry environments evolve.
Key Takeaway: As a juggler, you need to consider the overall performance, resources, stage, audience, and ticket sales and pay some attention to each element. As a founder, you face a similarly wide range of considerations to scale your business.
Photo by Cristian Rojas who can be found here
* When learning how to juggle, start with three handkerchiefs and toss each one up and over to the other side. With practice, you can juggle three soft balls within a couple hours.
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