One of the biggest problems many service providers have is how to identify their top business priorities. There are so many different things you could focus on… so how do you know what you should focus on?
This is especially challenging for those of us who are multi-passionate creatives (guilty as charged!).
But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! It is possible to have clarity and focus in your business, and to make sure you’re prioritizing what matters the most. It’s possible to make real, impactful progress on your business, even if it feels like you have no time to do it.
Here are 5 tips for what you need to know when it comes to identifying what should be your top business priorities…
5 Tips for Identifying Your Top Business Priorities
Tip #1: Remember that your business is a business.
Businesses need to make money. You need to bring in an income. You know what that means? You need to focus on the things that increase your income.
Take a step back and do an assessment/analysis of your current business. What brings in income… and what doesn’t? What aspects of your business are the most lucrative?
Tip #2: Identify what excites you the most.
It’s not enough to just identify what will bring in an income. Part of the reason for this is because being your own boss is a lot of work… so why bother building a business where you do stuff that you don’t enjoy?
The other side of it is for a very pragmatic reason: you will be much less motivated or inclined to keep working on your business and continuing to make progress if you don’t enjoy it.
As a result, you should focus on the services and projects in your business that give you the most motivation. This will dramatically improve your productivity levels (which corresponds to increased business success!).
If you find there’s a discrepancy between what brings in revenue and what you love doing, then now is also a great time to get creative and think outside the box, to explore your options for how you can make your passions more lucrative.
Tip #3: Your business plan should be the driving force.
Your business plan is an organic, living document; an interactive tool you should refer to on an ongoing basis, and one that changes as you and your business grow.
What is your mission statement? What goals have you set within your business plan? Keep in mind that ideally, your life and business should be in alignment: your business should support your life goals and vice versa. (After all… what’s the point in having your own business if you aren’t calling the shots, and ensuring that it supports the lifestyle you want?)
Structure your schedule to reflect your business plan. All of the little tasks you do every month, week, and even every day, should work toward making more progress with your larger business goals.
When you think about your business tasks from that perspective, it is much easier to identify what should be higher up on the priority list.
Tip #4: Highlight anything that is time-sensitive, urgent, obligations you’ve committed to, and anything necessary to keep your business running.
You might want to do a braindump of this so you can more easily see it all laid out ahead of you. What needs to be done ASAP? What is a requirement to keep your business afloat? What have you already committed yourself to doing?
Those are all important things to prioritize in your business. If, however, they don’t align with your life/business goals, or you strongly dislike them, or they aren’t generating revenue, then you have a few options: you can delegate or outsource those tasks to other people, or you can remove it from your business altogether. Check in with yourself on a regular basis so you know when it’s time to let go of one thing or another.
(Note: If you’ve committed yourself to working on something for a client, for example, and you realize that the work doesn’t fit with your current business goals, then make sure you wrap up whatever you’re working on, and/or recommend them to someone else in your industry. Don’t leave them hanging! Being considerate is extremely important when you are letting go of a client or stepping back from prior commitments.)
Tip #5: If you’re still stuck… use your creativity as a tool.
For example, I love using mind mapping as a fun (and practical!) tool for how to identify your top business priorities.
Mind mapping enables you to look at your workload from a new perspective, incorporating visual and tactile elements to the process. It’s an enjoyable method of using your creative energy to explore what really matters most to you… and it also helps connect the dots between your various ideas, and see where there might be connections that you never even realized existed.
Now that you know how to identify top priorities in your business, it’s time to put this into action!
Once you’ve chosen the top priorities in your business, the next step is to keep them top of mind so they get that focused attention they deserve.
How to Stay Focused on Your Business Priorities
Organize those top business priorities based on the task management system that works well for YOU. Every person and business is unique, so while there is absolutely value in getting ideas and inspiration from other people’s systems and processes, you’ll get the most from it when you apply them in a way that feels good and *right* for your unique situation.
For my own business, I like using a color-coded sticky note system to organize my tasks—this “lives” on my desk, so I see it every day while I’m working. I also have poster paper on the wall strictly for upcoming collaborations and launches, which enables me to see at a glance what my schedule looks like in the coming weeks and months.
The more that we organize our home offices in a way that keeps top business priorities front and center, the more that we can be focused and clear on what we should work on, when, to maximize productivity and skyrocket business success.
Get more practical (and easy) time-saving tips at SaganMorrow.com/savetime, so that you can more easily identify your top business priorities, kick overwhelm to the curb, and get more done in far less time… without the burnout!
You’ve got this.