The title makes this sound so dramatic, but setting priorities can help you get it done. Because we all know, it all needs to get done. Every. Last. Bit. But we can’t get it all done at the same time, right? The key to getting it all done is setting up your priorities. This is the piece that lets you do one thing over another and know that its completion has power over the success of your small business.
Sound easy but it isn’t always. Sometimes this means doing what you hate before doing what you love. And that’s when you must be clear on your priorities and what they mean to your business (and life).
“I don’t have time to do this”
Well, if this is true then thank goodness you have options! You can reassess where you’re spending your time or you can outsource tasks. Sometimes this is what you say if you don’t work from a schedule or plan as time can simply spill into all areas of your life. Often this is what we say when we don’t see the value in what we’re doing.
“This isn’t important right now”
It’s the “right now” part that I’m focusing on. We all know that if it isn’t important then it can wait. But if you’re putting something on the back burner as a procrastination tactic – that’s when you need to take a closer look at why you’re resorting to this. Are you telling yourself this because your to-do list is too long? Or are you telling yourself this because you don’t like doing it (or don’t want to)?
“I don’t know why I’m doing this”
If you aren’t working from a strategy or plan then this is what you might say to yourself. This could also be symptomatic of Shiny Object Syndrome where you simply see others doing something and start doing it yourself. It may start out as a fun thing to do but when schedules collide or nothing comes from the effort, you may start saying this to yourself.
I’m sure there are other phrases you say to yourself or hear others say. But you get the drift. The point is that placing priorities on your work and life tasks makes everything easier. You can more easily see the value in what you ARE doing and more easily say “no” to things that don’t fit yet.
How do you know what’s important?
This is up to you. However, you’ll want to make sure you include things that will make you happy and healthy like specific amounts of time off or dedicated time with the people who are important to you. This is to make sure that when you adjust your behaviour for your goals, you are basing it on a more holistic view of things and not a tunnel vision around your business. So, you may want to restrict work hours (emergencies will happen but having operating hours can help create structure), think about specific number of clients to work with or units sold, look at what needs to be consistent (like emails or other marketing) for it to work and focus on the tasks that help you reach your goals. You can also think about any kind of daily activity you want to make time for e.g. breakfast with the kids or morning walk or catching up on LinkedIn.
Think about what you want your life to be/look like. Not just the material things. You need to imagine your life in real time. How many hours do you want to work a day? A week? And if you’re not working, what are you doing? If you want to go back to school, do you need to work on any preliminary skills or courses? If you want to work a 4-day week, then you need to start shifting your schedule to make that closer to happening. If you want to outsource, look at documenting and automation within the process to help you get prepared (what would onboarding look like?)
By starting to implement some of these stepping stones, your larger goals will become closer and, in time, within reach!
Here are a few things to get you prioritizing:
- Write out your goals and number them in order of importance. You can only assign one number for each goal (no competing goals!)
- Put the tasks you need to complete in order to achieve each goal. Lust them under each goal and be specific with a goal completion date as well as a way to measure your success.
- Place this list where you will see it every day. Beside your computer is where mine is. It’s fastened to the wall beside my monitor (and juuuuuust a bit behind) so I catch sight of it a few times every day.
And don’t worry if your larger goals shift as you go. Sometimes we don’t know what we want but we know what we don’t want. This is normal if you haven’t set goals before or your goals are very small. As you grow, so will your goals! You won’t even realize that you’re starting small until a big goal hits you. This is an incredible (and scary) feeling but it’s one you need to have if you want to grow.
And note that ‘growth’ doesn’t always mean ‘bigger’ when it comes to your business. A bigger company isn’t always what gets you to your goals. Sometimes it’s a more efficient company or a company that can run itself. Sometimes a bigger company doesn’t make as much profit. Keep this in mind as you dream up your goals.
What about marketing priorities?
With most marketing it’s about consistency. It’s best to choose which area has the most impact on your business and focus on that. If clients come from Instagram or LinkedIn, then focus there. And as you become more efficient or grow your team (or outsource), you can make your marketing more sophisticated. Let’s look at an example.
A random example of marketing (this is very non-specific and basic):
1. Monthly content creation (podcast, blog or video)
Audio or video can be transcribed into a written post
2. Share content on social media to attract interest.
Pull out different parts of the content to focus on
3. Build-in something that entices visitors to commit (subscribe or opt-in)
Reuse on multiple posts for longevity
4. Land guest spots on qualified podcasts
5. Expand activity on social channels
Include Lives, videos, additional posts
6. Launch regular email
7. Integrate a webinar, challenge, workshop or ‘work with me’ activity
Promote through email and social channels
8. Participate in Summit/Conference
9. Write article series for industry publication
10.Partner with complementary small business for an offer or event
Now, if we look at the above list we could fine-tune this to successfully market a business. But you’re not likely to have the time to do all of this ON TOP of working IN your business e.g. client or customer work. So, to start you look at what needs to happen first. Maybe that is building an email list (good idea). This means you need an email platform. After that you need to have a way (and purpose) for people to join. Could be to download a freebie, maybe it’s to subscribe to receive regular emails of some sort. From there you need to have a way to promote the ‘purpose’ (download or subscribe) to people. So this could be done through your social media account(s), ads, your website with SEO tactics, partner or affiliate links, guest podcasting, Conference participation, etc.
You start with what you can realistically carve out time for each week. As you build, you’ll find you will make time for the things that get you to your goals faster. This happens because you learn the system or task better or you find a faster way of getting the same results. Either are good!
If you’re struggling with the marketing, we can help. Our marketing coaching program is a great way to build up your marketing plan and priorities with guidance and co-working. Or you can outsource the entire thing and we can help you build that life you want – sweat-free. Either way, feel free to reach out and we can chat about how we can help.