Todays guest blog explores how entrepreneurs can prioritize their heavy workloads and keep on top of all their commitments
Every entrepreneur fills multiple roles in running his or her company - one day youre raising money, the next day youre head of sales or creative director, and the next day youre speaking at a conference or doing some much needed admin work. The challenge is prioritizing the most important parts of the business rather than the day alone.
Stephen Covey offers a wonderful piece of advice in this quote, the key is not to prioritize whats on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. Many people look at their schedule and then decide what are the top priorities. I encourage my clients to figure out what your top priorities are first, and then design your schedule. Otherwise key personal or professional priorities, such as carving out 90 minutes to focus on your marketing strategy, prepare a presentation, workout or spend time with family or friends, may get left off the schedule.
You will find your priorities shift depending on the different phases of your business and life. Often, whats important to you last year will change from whats essential to you today or in the next three years. Here are three factors to consider as you identify your top priorities.
1. Bottom line: Do your top priorities align with your bottom line?
Each entrepreneur has to decide what drives his or her bottom line. How do you define your bottom line? Depending on your answer you will set different priorities. Whats most important for your business now - is it gaining visibility, hiring the right team, shifting or developing your marketing strategy, contributing to your community, doing research on a product or securing another major account? Your priorities will shift as your business grows and matures so you need to continually revise your priorities.
Right now there is a global initiative happening to redefine success and the bottom line of companies. Its called the The B Team and is a not-for-profit co-founded by Richard Branson to create a future where the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. Its mission is to deliver a Plan B that puts people and planet alongside profit since the original Plan A where companies are driven by profits alone is no longer acceptable.
2. Time Frame: Whats your key short-term and long-term project goal?
Our priorities will also shift depending on the time period we are focusing on. Often we have competing projects, which require company resources, that happen in different time periods. Its possible you may have to focus on hiring employees today while finding office space solutions for the longer term. Youll have to figure out what part of each short and long-term project needs to get done today so you can continue to grow your business. Again, this is not easy but these decisions will ultimately have to align with your bottom line.
3. Follow Your Heart: Whats your heart telling you?
Often we make decisions based on what we think we should be doing which makes it difficult to hear what our heart is saying. As you move away from all the shoulds and what others think you should be doing, you step into a new world of possibilities.
There will always be external and internal pressures that arise and try to derail you. For example, one of my clients who lives on the East Coast wants to buy a business on the West Coast and relocate but shes in a relationship and her partner does not want to move. Shes conflicted because she feels she should start a family but her heart is encouraging her to be fulfilled in her career right now. When you make heart-based decisions and follow your truth, you have greater clarity to take action (yes, the impact of the decisions may still be difficult).
Your heart will offer answers. Your work will be to decide what you are willing to do and what feels authentic.
Top 1% Bottom Line
Being an entrepreneur requires that you wear multiple hats. You have to understand the needs of various projects and continually evaluate your opportunities. As you grow your business, have the courage to listen to your heart and honor your priorities so they are aligned with a bottom line that hopefully makes a positive impact on our world. The choice is yours.