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In This Zero-sum Game, Call in the Marketers.

You can’t do everything. FIrst of all, you don’t have the time, and second of all, you’re not that good. But you can do one thing and I bet you can do one thing better than anyone else. It’s the reason you’re here, starting your business and working round the clock everyday to get it off the ground. You’ve got something to share, something that only you can offer. As an entrepreneur, then, your most important job is getting that thing into the world. As the leader, you set the vision and guide your team to achieve it.

That’s it.

But. If you don’t get the word out, and if you don’t get to your target market, not even your best work is going to matter. How can it if the very people it’s designed to benefit never hear of it?

To do that, you need a top search engine ranking which means a great SEO strategy. You’ll need excellent content on a consistent basis; great user interface and user design; a good social media strategy that will include separate content and daily maintenance; and succeeding at the online marketing game (not to mention the ground marketing game) is not easy. It takes lots of time and energy, and great execution. It should be a sustained priority.

Which means: you can’t do it yourself. Don’t put it on your team, either. Optimizing a website takes at least an experienced developer, a great writer, and a dedicated social media manager. Outsource it so you and your team can focus on building the best company.

You Have One Job

Look, your business is your baby. I get it. It depends on you for its very survival. It needs to be held and changed and fed every three hours, and there isn’t anyone else who can—oh, sorry. I thought we were talking about an actual baby.

No, your business is not an actual baby. It’s a business. You’re its leader. If you’re in all of the details and you’re not letting your people–that presumably you hired–do their job, then you’re failing at two jobs.

1. You’re providing lousy leadership.

2. You’re not doing the thing that only you can do!

With startups, especially in the early days, there will be fires and meetings and learning curves, and they will take your time, energy, and attention away from your most important job. That’s just reality. Don’t make it worse by giving yourself more jobs.

Focus Only on High Impact Activities

“If you service low-impact activities, therefore, you’re taking away time you could be spending on higher-impact activities. It’s a zero-sum game.”  Cal Newport

Perhaps the most important aspect of your company is your marketing.

Remember that.

Everything feels important in your new company. It seems you’re indispensable to its success. Do not make the mistake of getting involved in every little thing, especially something as complex and time-consuming as marketing. Like Cal Newport says, it’s a zero-sum game and diverting your attention is costly.

Focus on being great. Let your marketing focus on getting your great work seen by the world.

Anna Ray