When it comes to planning, most business owners are not short on ideas for growing sales and profit. They set goals and identify what they need to do to get there. But as you set goals and create your action plan, you need to prioritize business goals and activities.
You only have so many resources – people, time, and money. You still have a business to run and customers to serve. Be realistic about what you and your team can accomplish each month and quarter. Set priorities. What’s first, then second, and so forth. Here are a few things to consider as you prioritize business goals and tasks.
4 Ways To Set The Priorities in Your Plan
What is the #1 challenge you face today in your business? Is it getting new customers, getting more from the ones you already have, making more profit from your current sales, delivering consistent service to customers, having the right people, or getting more from them? Choose at least one or two that address your biggest challenge and work on them first.
How much work and other resources are required to complete the tasks or projects you identified in your plan. The more complex, the fewer you can reasonably handle in a short period of time.
With large, complex projects break down the tasks and spread them out over a few months. This allows you to make progress without getting overwhelmed, putting them off, or ignoring other areas in your business. For example, a new website or how-to manual will take more than a month. A marketing campaign or customer feedback survey can be done within 30 days.
Sometimes there are things you must do first because they are tied to the success of something you want or need to do in the future. Here are a few examples.
- If you plan to use social media, email, or other online strategies but don’t have a website (or your current one needs updating), then the website should be done first to get the most bang from your other efforts.
- If you get a lot of leads but struggle with converting them to paying customers, you might want to focus on ways to improve your sales conversion rates before you invest in new lead generation or marketing.
Time versus Money.
In a perfect world, we seek balance. But if money is tight, then focus initially on things that are low or no cost to help you build more revenue, profit, and cash flow. Then invest in strategies that require additional financial resources.
One caution as you set the priorities in your plan. Don’t prioritize based on what you like or what is easy. Putting off what is important for what is easy is just another form of procrastination. Focus on what will get you results – more sales, profit, control, or freedom.
It’s Never Too Late to Plan
Need help creating your road map for success? You can do it yourself by using my Ultimate Action Planning Guide.
Prefer to work on it with me? Then check out my Action Planning Program just for small business owners. Click here to learn more.
About Joan Nowak. As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.