Everyone knows it is important to know how to prioritize, but it is a quality very few can master. It is great to be busy, but do you ever get overwhelmed because your project list has too many items on it that are “really important?” How do you prioritize when everything is critical?
This is something that I run into more times than I care to admit, but it is not a constant situation. It seems to come in waves and the present time happens to be in one of those waves. What is a person to do when they have several projects that are critical to the future of their business?
Surely, I cannot be the only entrepreneur who is wondering the answer to this question.
I have tried working a little at a time on each project and that doesn’t really get much accomplished. When you consider the rewards and the sense of accomplishment that will come from all of them, it further complicates the situation.
Have any of you been in this same situation or perhaps find yourself in it now?
I believe that you need to look at the most pressing need in your business and evaluate each project for its potential impact. If your sales are too light, then focus on a new product or service launch that will bring in a steady stream of income. If your branding is weak or confusing, then you are probably losing lots of potential customers because no one wants to spend time and energy trying to figure out what you do.
Stop thinking about your projects in terms of what you want to accomplish, but rather in terms of what will help your business the most. Prioritizing your projects is important, but they won’t get done if you don’t break them down into smaller, achievable tasks.
I have come up with a few questions to ask yourself when trying to prioritize your own projects:
1. Which project helps me solve my most immediate need in the business?
It is really easy to get distracted by projects that are “cool” and “fun” but you need to be mindful of the real world impact that it offers your business. Sometimes when you think about this, you will come to the realization that the project that you have been working on offers you no actual value at all. Ouch. I have been there more than once and it’s really a best practice to cut it loose so that you can focus your efforts on what matters most.
2. Which project increases my income or saves me money?
Income is a really important focus in a “for profit” business. Different business models rely upon different income streams, based on industry and being either product or service based. In my experience, a blend of income streams is ideal since there are no certainties in business. This is an area where more is better. There is more to running and growing a business than making money, however, it is extremely important. Never take your eyes off of this and always be on the lookout for that next big opportunity.
3. Which project offers the most value to my audience or customers?
Without an audience and paying customers, you have no business. It’s best to take amazing care of them and one of the ways that you can do this is by enriching their lives through the products and services that you offer. When you make an extreme effort in this regard, you will build raving fans and repeat buyers. It’s a win for everyone and this will set you apart from others doing the same thing as you. Do you have a project that addresses this at all? If not, perhaps I have helped to shift your focus.
You see, there is always a way to prioritize everything, sometimes you just need a different perspective. I hope that this will help someone else in the same way that it has helped me.
- Biggest immediate impact to my business
- Makes or saves me money
- ROI of time for my audience
What nugget of information has the biggest impact on you? Let’s hear about it in the comments. I will catch up with you again next week.
According to the Pareto-Principle 20% of your projects generate 80% of your income. Learn how to apply the priority norm to prioritize your projects and focus on the projects contributing most to your success read “The Priority Norm: Learn how to prioritize your projects with this six-dimensional framework.”