Research adapts big-company operational knowledge to smaller organizations
Management guru Peter Drucker referred to time as "the one truly universal condition," and American businesses over the past century have turned time management into an obsession. Books and academic studies abound. But they're mostly aimed at the corporate world. What about time management for entrepreneurs?
UCLA Anderson's Charles J. Corbett, whose business-operations studies initially focused on large organizations, regularly fields questions from students about startup management practices. "I realized there wasn't much out there," Corbett said in an interview. "A lot of the issues that entrepreneurs face don't come up in our core management studies."
Yet time management is arguably more crucial for startups. Unlike executives at huge corporations, the entrepreneur often has no backup. Moreover, the entrepreneur has no excuse, as there is no boss telling her what to do.
Two recent papers by Corbett, UCLA Anderson's Guillaume Roels and Onesun Steve Yoo at University College London seek to adapt time-management advice to the startup environment:
How to Judge the Value of Your Time
Most business people, including entrepreneurs, understand net present value (NPV) — roughly, the value of a sum of money now, as compared to a future value it will have when taking into account compounded investment returns. Online calculators allow one to fiddle with variables and thus think in NPV. But, according to Corbett, Roels and Yoo, people, including entrepreneurs, aren't very good at thinking about their time in the same way. When people think about the value of their time, they tend to think about its current value, today, and not the future ramifications of having that time today. Correctly anticipating those dynamics, "NPV thinking" is particularly important for entrepreneurs with the ambition to grow their business.
Let's say a startup founder's time is worth $100 an hour today because she'd pay $100 to have an extra hour of time today. What will her time be worth in a year, say, if the company's sales are planned to grow by 50 percent? How does that change the value of her time today? The authors believe many entrepreneurs undervalue future time.