A lot of preparation goes into yearly goal setting and planning. First, you need to take a good look at the previous year and know where your business is right now. Then it’s a matter of prioritizing your strategic objectives so you can start working on the areas your business needs.
We’ve talked a bit about planning your year with a strategic map, but let’s dive deep into how to figure out exactly which strategic objectives to address now and which can wait a quarter or two. This will help you as you prioritize your time as a small business owner.
I believe that we’re brainwashed to think we have to have it all figured out, 5 years and 10 years down the road. We think we need to have long-term goals, then plan backward to make sure we hit all the smaller goals on our way there.Small biz owners don’t need to long-range plan like big corporations. Laser-focus instead.Click To Tweet
The reality is, this long-range planning doesn’t really exist in small business. We truly work differently because of the growth and development we always seem to be in the middle of. The long-term goal you plan today may change multiple times because your life changes and your vision of success changes. And that’s okay!
Identifying your priorities is meant to be a 6- to 12-month exercise, with you revising those priorities every quarter. As you review your strategic objectives each quarter, it’s important to energetically align them with where you are in your personal life.
How to Prioritize Your Time as a Small Business Owner
You’re in hustle mode because you need to make sales.
You may want to focus on product innovation so you have the best product or service available to put out in the world. As you put the final touches on what you’re selling, you’ll want to focus on visibility so your audience can learn more about you and what you offer.
You’ve been making sales, but it doesn’t feel like enough.
Business growth and finances are a good place to focus, either finding new customers or identifying places where you can save money in your business. You’ll want to look at what your current sales process looks like and make refinements. Or, review your expenditures so you can tighten your belt a bit.
You have a solid, consistent income in your business with few ebbs and flows.
You’re probably ready to take on some personal growth so you can start to think about what’s next in business. You may also want to up your game in customer/client experience so you can prepare for scaling.
You feel like you can never get through everything on your to-do list, leaving you frazzled.
If you have too much to do, the problem may be your operations. It may be time to focus on automating tasks and creating workflows to help you move through each task without living out of your inbox or from handwritten to-do lists.
The key here is to identify one or two strategic objectives where you’ll focus for the next quarter and let go of the need to do everything all at once.
As much as you might want to (or even think you can), you can’t do it all. And if you try, you’re sure to leave something out. If it’s what you should really focus on, your business will suffer.
All businesses need to focus on the seven strategic objectives at some point in their lifetime, but knowing where to prioritize your time, and when, is what will drive you to success.