As I was watching a video from the Small Business School on Working on Your Business, I realized that one of the points they were making had the potential to transform how I think about all the activities and tasks on my action item list each day.
Too often, folks who are getting a business started find themselves stuck in the gloomy Not Important/Not Urgent corner - fiddling with business card font, creating detailed workshop content or figuring out how to find a product packaging company, when they haven't yet spent the time on finding out who their clients or workshop attendees are likely to be.
Maybe they've convinced themselves that what they are doing is Urgent, but which on closer inspection turns out to be Not Important. This might happen if they're intent on getting a beautiful website up before they have determined what their best business model and marketing message are. Or they are spending hours organizing filing cabinets and desks, instead of making those tough calls intended to generate revenue.
When it comes to starting a business and prioritizing the use of your time, you'll be the champ when you spend your time largely in the Important/Urgent quadrant, and to a lesser extent on the Important/Not Urgent side.
A promising start-a-business task list might look something like this:
- sketch out biz plan, with one year's financials
- write short description of my ideal client/patient
- find and contact colleagues/affiliates serving my desired target market; ask if I can survey their list in exchange for writing an article for their newsletter
- set up 5-question survey in SurveyMonkey
- set prices for services/products (if you have a pending client - otherwise that can come a little later in the I/NU category)
- prepare my Marketing Syntax script
- attend 5 networking meetings this month where ideal clients or ideal referrers might be present
- make 10 calls a week to potential clients
- set up meeting with my banker
- set up meeting with my business attorney to determine business structure
- decide on company name; secure domain name(s) for website
- get business cards made
- get computer(s) set up in office
- make a decision re hiring support personnel
- talk to business insurance person to decide on what insurance to purchase (depending on what kind of business you're starting and what your level of immediate risk is)
- begin mapping out a website strategy based on earlier decisions; request referrals to website designers/webmasters.
I hope you are spotting the underlying theme. I like to call it the "What is the shortest route to income in 90 days for my business?" approach!
For the tasks you're currently spending time on, what are their importance and urgency?