One of the questions rolling around in my head is, “what is enough effort?”

Any given task, objective, goal requires an energy expenditure to realize. That amount of energy is nearly always unknown.

For example, imagine that you want to build leads with a new channel. You saw a video on YouTube that has you all fired up about social media advertising.

How much effort should you put into that?

A highly driven person will dump hundreds of hours into education, experimenting with campaigns, audiences, etc.

A bum will get a campaign live and declare that paid social doesn’t work if that campaign doesn’t immediately generate leads.

In every situation in which something is new, the energy expenditure to achieve an objective will vary wildly. That makes it inherently risky.

Setting aside tactics to lower risk, one approach to this dilemma is to cap your time on goals by dollarizing effort.

Your and your team’s time, energy, and attention is finite and it does come at a cost. So if rather than dumping in sweat, you were going to put in cash, what would you pay another company to realize a goal?

As a simple example, if the most you’d pay an agency is $15,000 to develop a new paid social channel and every hour your team works is worth $100, then you’d want to limit your effort to 75 hours. 150 hours is the maximum you’d be willing to invest, but for every hour you spend on paid social is not an hour you can generate a return on. I.e. opportunity cost ($7,500 in invested time + $7500 in missed value creation.)

This approach is a translation of deciding how much you’re going to spend before you step into the casino.

It doesn’t answer, “What will be enough?” but instead answers, “When should I say: ‘enough’?”

Featured image is the first flight of the Wright Flyer, December 17, 1903. Planes require a specific amount of energy to generate lift. Used under public domain.