The first that comes to our mind when you hear the word resources is probably money. Resources are more than that. Financial resources are indeed necessary, but there is a plethora of other available resources that are equally or more essential. For example, your passion and motivation are two available, paramount resources for your business. A book may be your favourite educational resource and the support of your family is a priceless emotional resource. For many experienced entrepreneurs, the most valuable resource is time. It is non-renewable, and you can never ask for more.
Resources are limited! Even for the wealthiest entrepreneur of the world resources are not infinite. This is why it is important to mobilise existing resources and generate new ones effectively.
In every step of your entrepreneurial journey, you will continuously come across the issue of scarcity of resources. There is no need to worry! As an entrepreneur, you can learn and master the skill of managing your existing resources and mobilising them to produce value for others.
Beneficial use of resources will eventually turn your idea into action and consequently, create value for others. Many times, the difference between success and failure relies on the wise use of what you have available each given moment. In this WebQuest, you will learn how to identify, gather, and use the available resources you may need for your business.
How many resources do you have available today?
Knowing what you have today can help you make the right decisions for the future. Resources can be found in many categories. You may hear about the material (e.g. production means and financial resources) and non-material resources (e.g. knowledge, skills, and attitudes). Business-wise, you may discover technical, legal, tax and digital resources. Start-ups often create a matrix of financial, intellectual, human, educational, emotional, physical, moral, and other types of resources.
What resources does your business need at this stage to grow? Which are available and which are to be gathered?
You are the person that knows better than anyone else how your business will look like in the future. Think about what you need today to achieve it. Consider the core units of your future business and explore resources that may facilitate growth.
How can you make the most out of limited resources?
Always have in mind your result and how you can create value for others. There are no correct and wrong answers. Building a business is about trial and error, so the right choices come through experimentation. Bring the members of your team together and work collaboratively on this WebQuest. It is a great and fun way to explore the current situation of your business and express ideas on how you can use wisely your available resources. This WebQuest will help you make your database of resources and manage them for taking your business one step further.
Step 1: Identify available resources
List as many resources you have available today, as possible. Brainstorm with your team. Think specifically about the resources that you possess at the moment. If you lack ideas, you can use the following websites to broaden your thinking:
This exercise should result in an extensive list of resources. Some of them are more important than others, but they all have something to offer if used accordingly.
Try to categorise them with your teammates following a meaningful categorisation, having in mind the future core units of your business.
Step 2: Identify missing resources
You would probably be familiar with the Business Canvas Model. If you are not familiar or you want to refresh your knowledge, take a look at the short or extended video explanation.
The purpose of this task is to identify the key resources of your business model. Think about the following:
Which resources does your business need to work? What are the most critical resources strategic-wise?
Usually resources are presented as a combination of physical, intellectual, human, financial, relational, and digital resources. However, you can categorise them better as it fits your business.
List the key resources that your business needs and identify which of them are not available at the moment. This list must be brief and comprehensive. Include only the most essential resources that will mobilise the flow of the element among the Business Canvas Model. If you need more extended information to identify the key resources of your business, you can take a look here.
After you finish, decide which of them are available today and which are not.
Step 3: Combining resources
Your next mission is to go through your first list of available resources and try to make meaningful combinations. You need to do this to fill gaps of missing resources you identified at Step 2. You are getting into problem-solving, which is an essential skill of an entrepreneur! You will be called to find solutions for minor or more significant problems daily during your business journey. Master this skill; it is essential for growth!
You might end with some key resources that you don’t possess yet. This is expected. New resources should be acquired at the right time and price. Think about innovative ways of engaging these resources with your team and try to create a plan of dealing with limited resources. Get inspired with this video on how Elon Musk deals with unknown situations.
Step 4: Use resources responsibly
What does it mean to use resources responsibly? As the head of a business you have an impact on society. Your choices might have a positive or negative effect on the people around you.
For example, do you use the profits of your business to generate more jobs or not? Do you use greener renewable energy sources or not? Do you control the waste of your business or not? Do you consider the significant social and environmental problems of our society or not? Do you contribute for a better quality of life for yourself, your family, and your community or not? Asking such questions to yourself might guide you on making better choices.
Take a look at the following concepts/videos and discuss with your team how can you allocate and manage your resources, having in mind ‘using sources responsibly’:
What is effective resource management and how can you ensure it?
In brief, effective resource management means to make the most out of your limited resources. You might never be sure about making the most of them, simply because there are always other options that you haven’t thought or tried. However, there are several tips and guidelines you can follow to bring resource management at a high level of efficiency and effectiveness. Look at the below websites for some useful ideas:
The ultimate goal of your business is value creation; transforming purposeful ideas into action to produce value for others, either this is economic, social, or other. This value must also be superior or different from that of competitors. Effective resource management can be the leverage for businesses of being small or big, low, or high performance, successful or unsuccessful. According to the RBV (Resource-Based View) model, each business has a bundle of valuable resources that can offer a competitive advantage over competitors. This blend of resources, when networked effectively, can provide solutions to complex issues.
Resource-Based View of the Firm Use the RBV model and allocate your available resources, using the findings of the previous steps for creating a valuable competitive advantage. Identify which resources are tangible and which are not. Are they mobile or immobile? Are they worthwhile, rare, imitate, organised? Discuss with your colleagues whether you have already a definite competitive advantage or what must be done to achieve it.
By completing this WebQuest, you will acquire the following knowledge, skills, and attitudes:
• Recognise that resources are not limited
• Experiment with different combinations of resources to turn my ideas into action
• Appreciate the importance of sharing resources with others.
• Describe how resources last longer through reuse, repair, and recycling.
• Manage the necessary resources to turn my idea into action.
• Value my possessions and use them responsibly.
• Discuss the principles of circular economy and resource efficiency.
• Develop a plan for dealing with limited resources when setting up my value-creating activity.
• Use resources responsibly and efficiently (for example, energy, materials in the supply chain or manufacturing process, public spaces).
• Consider the non-material cost of using resources when taking decisions about my value-creating activities
1. Resources are unlimited. We can find plenty of free tools around the web and the business world.
Correct Answer: B: False. Resources are not unlimited! Resources are not only free digital tools or easily found intangible assets. Although, this is not something to worry about, as businesses are constantly faced towards scarcity of resources. The key is how we manage them wisely-resourcefulness!
2. Which of the following resources is non-renewable?
B: External support
Correct Answer: C: Time. We can never ask for more time! Knowledge, support, and money can be always found from other sources.
3. What are the key resources according to the Business Canvas Model?
A: Resources that add to your value proposition
B: Resources that are required by your marketing and distribution channels
C: Resources that are required to deliver your customer relationships
D: Resources that support your revenue streams
E: All the above
Correct Answer: E: All the above. Key resources are anything that can facilitate the interconnection of the elements of your Business Model and thus, turn your idea into action.
4. Managing the resources of your business is an ongoing, problem-solving procedure to come up with solutions for creating value. What method does Elon Musk suggest on how to think in such situations?
A: Reasoning by Analogy
B: First Principles Method
C: The DCAP (Do-Check-Act-Plan) Method
D: Lateral Thinking
Correct Answer: B: First Principles Method. Start from the fundamental truths and build up from there. You may come up with solutions you were considered impossible.
5. How can you adopt your business resource management to the principles of Circular Economy?
A: Recycling waste
B: Obtaining raw material that are biodegradable
C: Disassembling old to regenerate new products
D: Rethink and redesigning your operating system
Correct Answer: D: Rethink and redesigning your operating system. The rest of the answers are also correct, but they are individual practices. Circular Economy is about new perspectives and new horizons of our whole professional and personal operation.
6. According to the RBV (Resource Base View), what attributes of your resources offer to your business a competitive advantage:
A: Heterogeneous and mobile
B: Valuable, rare, inimitable, and organised
C: Non-substitutable, Unmodifiable, Unique
D: Tangible and intangible
Correct Answer: B: Valuable, rare, inimitable, and organised. Under preconditions, VRIO attributes can sustain the competitive advantage of a business, according to the RBV.
Congratulations, you have reached the end of this WebQuest!
During this WebQuest, you have learnt what resources are, which of them are available to you and which are essential for your business. You have had the opportunity to go through an extensive database of resources, categorise them by type and allocate them to each core unit of your business.
As you have seen, you will be confronted in situations of scarcity very often, however, the key is how you use what you have available to produce more. Specific attributes and techniques might be beneficial in these moments such as creativity or taking nothing granted, as Elon Musk suggests.
You have also become familiar with the terms of the circular economy, social entrepreneurship, production, and consumption management which will guide you to make more responsible decisions regarding resource management. Furthermore, you have learnt that effective resource management can provide your business with a competitive advantage and make a real difference among other companies.
Now you have reached a sufficient level of expertise to start managing the resources of your business wisely and responsibly! If you follow what you have learned today in your daily practice, we will be proud to have entrepreneurs like you in our society!
The clock is ticking…!
Think about this common philosophical dilemma:
“What would you prefer:
$1M in exchange for only a month of living, or $0 for an eternity of living?”
Most prudent people recognise that any amount of money does not have any value if they will not have enough time. Time is priceless! And this is because time is limited and non-refundable. Millionaires are willing to give away their fortune to get back to their 20s. Entrepreneurs say that the most valuable asset of their businesses is time, simply because time is non-renewable and you can never ask for more.
However, we often feel pressured by time in our effort to run out certain activities. Too many tasks full up our schedule and time never seems to be enough. We feel pursued by time as if we are in a fight against it.
Our decisions and actions define whether the time is our enemy or ally. Taking control of our time, it effectively gives us the confidence to cope with a packed programme and better productivity.
But what does it mean to take control of time, while you are overwhelmed with several activities and decisions? How do you manage time effectively? As an entrepreneur, you will be often called to deliver products timely, conduct meetings under pressure, and run different activities simultaneously. Time will always run over you. But there is no need to panic! Time will never stop running. We just have to learn how to navigate with it, not against it. In this WebQuest, you will learn how to manage the time of your team and yourself effectively and find solutions to get valuable support where it is needed.
You are part of a 3-member start-up providing software services for businesses like restaurants, cafeterias, beauty salons etc. handle their reservations. It has been 2 years of hard work. During the first year, you have built and tested your service until you managed to launch it officially 1 year ago. You have a small network of business collaborations, but it looks that customers use and like your service.
After 3 months of lockdown, due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, and internal rectification of the software, you are now heading to the second week after the reopening of businesses. New shops are calling to use your service, users are reporting “bugs” during the reservation procedure, existing clients are asking for new features, the payroll of your team has to be done, and one member of your team is on sick leave for this week. You are overwhelmed! Today is Monday, and you are required to do some planning for this week. With the help of your teammates, try to cover up this mess. You must manage your time effectively during this stressful situation, find appropriate support sources and divide labour and activities, accordingly.
We have done some pre-work for you to write down the necessary tasks and the estimated working time to be completed:
This is not a special day for an entrepreneur. Running a business might be overwhelming most of the days. Apart from the above tasks given on the list, several others will occur during the day. Follow the next steps and learn how to be an expert in dealing with such situations.
Step 1: Set priorities
There are several proposed models and theories for time management. Take a look at the sources given below and complete the following table, allocating tasks on each box accordingly.
As you have seen, these two models (ABC model and Covey’s grid) share some common principles. The most obvious one is that they guide you to set your priorities! Setting up priorities helps you to focus on and start with the most necessary tasks to be completed.
Step 2: Allocate labour and activities
According to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule), most of our time is spent on the smallest percentage of our performance. Take a further look at Pareto’s Principle and the tips to allocate your tasks accordingly:
Think with your colleague about solutions on how you can leverage this phenomenon. You have a major in sales and excellent communication skills, while your partner is a computer freak. Which tasks you and your partner can handle?
Step 3: Find services to support value-creation
You might realise that you cannot complete all tasks among the two of you during this week. Let’s see how you can find some additional support.
When looking for partners or hiring services always have in mind to choose those that could add value to your business. It is not a typical procedure; It involves evaluating communication, expertise, professionalism, ability and many more variables. Support could be internal or external, paid, or unpaid, public, or private, open-source or closed-source software etc.
Think about family members, friends, possible investors, or other companies in the real world and decide which tasks you can assign to whom. Remember, all jobs must be completed within this week! Make actual calls, search for companies on the internet or in your community that could help you and ask for offers, if charges may apply.
Step 4: Develop a network of providers
Acting proactively means to be prepared for the future. Similarly, busy weeks are yet to come. The key is to be ready to deal with it.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are software that helps you manage your network of providers. You can add their contact information, previous and future offers, the menu of services and even track their performance on the given tasks. Take a look at some free available CRM software online and choose the appropriate for your case. Create your business account and enter the information of providers you acquired during the previous step.
The last step is to place yourself, your team, and your partners on track. Time management systems give insights into your workforce, allowing you to see, plan and manage your time. This will control your labour costs and increase productivity. It automates processes and eliminates tedious tasks. It enables you to work smarter – not harder.
There are several time management digital tools that help you enter tasks and sub-tasks by priority, and different associate persons to do them. Mainly, they keep track of the real working time of each task and create charts to visualise the spending of your time. Check out some time-tracking software and choose the most appropriate for your case.
13 Best Free Time Management Software Enter the tasks by priority as you did at the first step, assign them to the responsible person and observe their process. You are now set to begin your week and be productive as never before!
By completing this WebQuest, you will acquire the following knowledge, skills, and attitudes:
• To discuss the need for investing time in different value-creating activities.
• To use my time effectively to achieve my goals
• To recognise different uses for my time
• To identify sources of help for my value-creating activity
• To manage my time effectively, using techniques and tools that help make me.
• To value my time as a scarce resource
• To describe the concepts of division of labour and job specialisation
• To help others manage their time effectively
• To find and list public and private services to support my value-creating activity
• To put in place effective time- management procedures
• To find digital solutions
• To develop effective time management procedures that meet the specific needs of my value-creating activity.
• To find support to help me take advantage of an opportunity to create value
• To effectively delegate tasks within and outside my organisation to make the most value
• To develop a network of flexible and responsive providers from outside the organisation who support my value-creating activity.
1. What are the three principles of the ABC model of effective time management?
A: Awareness – Build up – Conclusion
B: Awareness – Believe – Continuation
C: Accountability – Build up – Continuation
D: Analogy – Believe – Conclusion
Correct Answer: B: Awareness – Believe – Continuation. Think about the proper use of the time you receive daily in your beautiful life! Believe it from now on that your purpose in life according to your personal and professional vision is to spend quality time. Continue the model’s practice until it becomes a habit for you.
2. How can you increase productivity using Pareto’s Principle?
A: Spend most of your time on the most important tasks
B: Spend 80% of your time on the 80% most important tasks
C: Spend 80% of your time and guide the external supporters to spend the rest 20%
D: Spend 20% of your time on the 80% most important tasks
Correct Answer: A: Spend most of your time on the most critical tasks. Pareto’s principle suggests spending 80% of your time on 20% of the most critical tasks.
3. How can partners (internal or external) support your business?
A: Undertake several tasks to save you time
B: Provide access to technology and expertise
C: Increase human and financial capital
D: Access new markets and grow sales
E: All the above
Correct answer: E: All the above. Assigning tasks to other providers cannot only save you time but they can also add value to your business in different ways. That is why choosing providers is not a typical procedure but it involves good decision making.
4. Why should your business employ a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system?
A: To increase your sales
B: To track the behaviour of your customers
C: To structure the organisation within your business
D: To track possible segmentation from your customer database
Correct answer: C: To structure organisation within business. A CRM can keep track of everything you are doing with your customers, partners, and departments of your business. It is a communication device and it maintains complexity on manageable levels.5. What are the main advantages and disadvantages of employing a time-tracking software for your business? Please mention 3 for each category.
! Ultimately, every employer must decide for himself if time tracking software is the right thing for him/her and whether it will prove beneficial for the business. !
Congratulations, you have reached the end of this WebQuest!
During this WebQuest, you have learnt how valuable time is and how important it is to manage it effectively. You have had the opportunity to get in the role of an entrepreneur and take crucial decisions for the business. You have explored some theories and models of time management and got to know about Pareto’s Principle. You also got familiar with some digital tools that help you enhance the productivity of your team and yourself. Furthermore, you have discovered that getting support is not only necessary to save time but also to create value for your business. However, you have learnt that time is not the only criterion to evaluate the productivity of employees.
Busy days and busy weeks are the routine of an entrepreneur. Controlling stress and frustration while coming up with solutions and procedures that enhance the productivity of your business, make you a highly skilled entrepreneur. Today, you have learnt how to master time and navigate with it, not against it.