How To Set Priorities

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, I argued that the key to success in a small business is to focus on doing one thing extremely well.  A small company simply doesn’t have the resources to compete with bigger, richer companies if it’s trying to be all things to all people.

While trying to do one thing extremely well, however, you still need to figure out how to set priorities and allocate your company’s limited resources.

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ll have a dozen things you could be doing at any one time, as will everyone who works for you.  If you and your employees all behave like billiard balls, bouncing in a hundred different directions, you’ll be toast.

So here’s how to set priorities:

  • Figure out the one product or service that is working the best (customers like it).
  • Put 90 per cent of the company’s energy and resources into expanding that product or service and making it better.
  • Tell every employee to prioritise their time by doing only the things that are most likely grow that product and make it better.
  • Outsource or ignore everything else.

Everyone in the company should know that everything they do should be focused on making that one key product or service a success.

In many cases, this will mean letting go of minor details and focusing on what really matters. And ultimately, in a small business, only three things really matter:

  • producing a good product,
  • selling the product,
  • not running out of money.

Salespeople should not call “everyone.”  They should only call their most promising prospects.  Engineers should not try to make the product “perfect.” They should focus on making it GOOD.  And so on.

If you can get everyone in the company focused on producing and selling one good product and not getting distracted by a thousand opportunities and details, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success.

And what should do you do with the remaining 10 per cent of your time?

Think about what to do next.

Note: this article was previously published on The OPEN Forum. Read more. >

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