How to Set the Right Priorities for Your Business
When you have a to-do list that is pages long, business goals that you really want to hit, and about 75 distractions and issues that come up every day, it can be completely overwhelming to decide what takes priority. Often, the client who yells loudest is the one who gets attention first, right?! But that's not always the right thing for your business. If you're in the middle of that whirlwind of work without a clear view of what is most important for you and your company RIGHT NOW, then I have a great way to set some priorities so you get things done AND you achieve your goals. Let's take a look!
Stop the whirlwind for just a couple of hours! You've got to block time on your calendar to organize and prioritize and you can't do that if you don't shut the door and evaluate what needs to be done! This is when you take that list of everything you need to do and you combine it with the goals you've set for the year, along with the steps you need to accomplish to get closer to those goals. If you only check things off your to-do list, you'll find yourself in the very same place every single year with not one goal established. If you ignore your list of things to do while only focusing on your goals ... well we both know your clients are not going to stick around for that. There has to be a system in place for you that lets you look at EVERYTHING that needs to be done for your business. That's your role as CEO.
Establish Priority Lists
Harvard Business School has a great way to set priorities, and it really helps to use the terms they've established. It's about creating 3 lists of priorities. First would be Critical items. Those would be anything that has a set time limit, that would impact your business in a major way if it is achieved (and if it is NOT), and could significantly add to the bottom line. That could include getting new clients, invoicing, paying bills that are due, and finishing a task for a client that HAS to be done ASAP. Then there are Important priorities - usually those that's don't have immediate deadlines, but that you HAVE to accomplish. That could be setting a meeting with your accountant, a site job walkthrough, setting your marketing budget, or pitching an idea to an industry partner. Then there are Desirable priorities. You really want to accomplish the things on that list, but they can be pushed back a little as far as time and resources.
Assign and Review ... Often!
Once you have your list created, remember that YOU do not have to do every single thing on that list. A lot of the client work can be delegated to other team members, freeing you up to focus on those top-line goals and tasks. And you should also review those lists every month or so. Things will drop off as you finish them, AND you will have things that will move into a different priority category. So don't thing this is a one-and-done process!
Setting priorities really will help you manage your business, keep your clients happy, AND achieve all of those goals that you have for this year and beyond! To keep you on track, download my FREE Guide to Delegating with Ease! That will help you assign tasks to others so you can keep your eye on the bigger picture.