Prioritization for small business owners is an important and necessary undertaking. However, you may find you have to wear many hats during the day, such as taking responsibility for sales, IT and accounting, which leaves little time for other important, but less pressing, tasks. How can you ensure the most essential tasks for your business get done? By taking the following three steps, you will be on your way to setting your priorities effectively.
Step 1: Create Business Goals and Objectives
To identify the tasks that benefit your business the most, you need to define your business objectives. In other words, be sure you know the answers to these two questions:
1. What is it that you want your business to accomplish?
2. What is your goal?
For instance, a call center business that primarily focuses on customer service may set a goal to become a customer service leader. Business objectives, on the other hand, are more specific. For example, a call center business may set an objective to achieve a 95 percent overall customer satisfaction score on surveys within the next three months. By committing to your goals and objectives, you will be able to lay the groundwork for setting your priorities.
Step 2: Develop a Plan of Action
The key to developing an efficient action plan is eliminating tasks that do not add value to your business. Have a brainstorm session and jot down recurring activities that are essentially a waste of time. For example, you may hold an hour-long status meeting every week when an email to your team would suffice.
Once you get rid of wasteful activities, you can itemize what matters the most to your business. Start with daily tasks that have deadlines or ones that you are obligated to do and rank them according to importance. From there you can list weekly, monthly and yearly obligations to broaden your perspective when prioritizing tasks. This will help you develop a plan that keeps your business on track to meeting goals and objectives.
Step 3: Eliminate Distractions
With the plethora of technology devices and mediums available today, it's easy to get distracted and steer away from what is important. Set a certain time (preferably your slowest time of the day) to answer emails or use social media — and stick with it! Also, ensure that activities are relevant to your business. For instance, if growth is your top priority and sales tend to peak in the morning hours, then it makes sense to eliminate potential distractions at this time of the day and focus on growth.
No matter what a business would like to achieve, these three steps will help make prioritization for small business owners a smoother and more effective process.
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