"Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying." That was Ralph Waldo Emerson's take on priorities. As small business entrepreneurs, we can talk a good game. But, can we successfully execute the plays that guarantee a win?
Throughout my years as a small business strategist and business coach, I've noticed a common theme among small business owners. They talk about their goal for growing their small business yet their actions -- and their calendar -- would say something different. It's like professing my goal to lose five while grazing my way through a bag of Doritos.
The ability to prioritize the many activities in the day of a small business owner is daunting. There are fires to put out, deadlines to meet, hands to shake, and babies to kiss. It's no wonder we lose sight of what's most important in the big scheme of our business.
Prioritization is well defined as a skill that entrepreneurs benefit greatly from mastering. There's nothing more satisfying than to exit your business each evening with a sense of satisfaction knowing critical goals are achieved.
There are a variety of methods upon which to base your decisions for better prioritization. One method at your disposal is the time constraint technique where priorities are made based on available time. Another popular approach is to arrange priorities according to the pressure felt to complete a task or project. Our favorite -- and most effective -- system for prioritization is to do so based on the goals most likely to advance your business.
Take Inventory of Your Small Business Goals
- Consider the goals for your business. What do you intend to achieve this week? This month? This year? (Goals are not your to-do list. Be sure you're clear on the difference.)
BTW, if goal setting is not your strong suite, you're not alone. For many, goal setting was an overlooked part of school curriculum. If you want to make sure your business is heading in the right direction, download the free goal setting workbook.
- Check your calendar. Does your schedule -- and all the goings-on stuffed into it -- reflect the activity needed to achieve your goals? Are you surprised by the discovery? Most small business entrepreneurs are stunned to realize their calendars aren't aligned with what is needed to achieve their goals.
Shuffle the Deck to Align Your Calendar & Small Business Goals
Let's re-configure your calendar so it's reflective of your goals.
For starters, schedule your most critical goal-focused activities for the beginning of your day. Next, line up other activities behind your goal-focused actions. Arrange your day according to the priorities of your goal. Voila! Achieve your goals with greater ease and less stress. Who doesn't want that?!
Be patient. It takes time to rework your calendar so its properly prioritized and aligned with your goals. Don't give up. In the words of Wally "Famous" Amos, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting." And, who wants that?!
What does your calendar say about the probability of achieving your goals?