What Are Your Priorities for Your Business?

“Set priorities for your goals. A major part of successful living lies in the ability to put first things first. Indeed, the reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.”

~ Robert J. McKain

What Are Your Priorities for Your Business?

By Andrea Novakowski

Molly wanted to take her business to the next level, but she knew she couldn’t reach her sales goals with her present staff. It was time to build her sales force.

So she invested time in hiring and training a promising new salesperson. Then, at the last minute, he received a better offer from a competitor. Molly was back to square one.

If you’re trying to grow your business, like Molly, you’re probably all too familiar with her time crunch problem. Her plate was overflowing. She was desperate for a way to accomplish everything she needed to do. So she came to me for coaching.

The first thing I asked her was, “What’s your number-one priority?”

“To find a salesperson, of course!” she replied.

“How many hours a day are you spending on that effort?”

Molly’s eyes grew wide, and she burst out laughing. She hadn’t set aside daily time to work on her number-one priority!

Think about your everyday life for a moment. Many of us wish for more hours in the day, whether to exercise, read, pursue a hobby, or spend time with our families.  Have you ever noticed that if something is truly important to you, it has a way of getting done? You cancel non-essential appointments. Get up a bit earlier.  Forgo your favorite TV shows.

Your business operates no differently than your everyday life. The trick is to recognize your priorities. If you know what’s essential to the future of your business and what’s not, you can plan your day to make sure the important things get done. Here are some ways to do just that.

  1. Take a hard look at each item on your schedule. Do you really have to do it yourself – or can you delegate the task? Or even dump it?
  2. Not sure which responsibility to tackle first? Create a checklist to decide if a given action will bring you closer to your goals. Sample questions to ask: Does this move my business forward in a positive way? Does it have a big enough impact? Can I afford it? Can I accomplish it in the next three months?
  3. Long-range business goals – like hiring new staff or updating a web site – often get pushed aside by daily emergencies. The only way to prevent this is to set aside time each day to work on that long-term project. Build it into your schedule. It won’t get done all at once, but if you devote a small block of time to it every day, soon you’ll see progress.
  4. Work on your priorities when your brain is fresh. If you’re a morning person, schedule this work at the beginning of the day. If your peak energy occurs from 10 to 2, use that window. By heeding your natural energy rhythms, you’ll get more done in less time.
  5. Maximize your efficiency by grouping similar jobs together. Instead of answering each email as it comes up, or avoiding email until it becomes unmanageable, set aside a half hour each morning and/or afternoon to deal with email. Likewise, schedule a regular time to make and return phone calls. Otherwise, an unscheduled phone call can easily eat up half your morning!

Coaching Call To Action

First and foremost, enjoy this blessed holiday season with family, friends, and loved ones. Second, set your priorities for the rest of the year. Third, look back at 2011 – did you enjoy the journey and reach your goals?  Last, plan for 2012 using the information below.

I’d love to hear from you about what you discover as you take time to reflect and plan.  Please take a minute to share your thoughts on Facebook.