It’s inevitable. As a small business owner, you will wear many, many hats.
- Marketing manager
- Content developer
- Sales executive
- Technical support staff
But while this type of task juggling is to be expected, you have to be aware that not all of your hats are created equal. Marketing outweighs bookkeeping, for example, because without marketing, there will be no cash to manage.
Not only that, but you have to consider how much time you’re spending in each area as well. If you spend all day tweaking the design on your website and put off sending an email to your list, what have you gained?
Sure, you might have a prettier website, but you lost an opportunity to drive traffic to your offer.
In an ideal world, you’d simply put on your CEO hat and delegate the rest, but here in the real world, we don’t always have that option. Instead, we have to work smarter, and take care how we’re spending our time.
Prioritize Your Daily Tasks
We all have different skills and sweet spots when it comes to the tasks we want and need to do. You might love customer support and hate bookkeeping, while someone else enjoys the numbers game and doesn’t like dealing with the help desk. But regardless of your personal preferences, one thing is certain: money-making tasks should be at the very top of your to-do list.
That might mean product creation, email marketing, client outreach, webinar development, or something entirely different. Identify those money-making tasks in your business and be sure to prioritize them every single day.
Know the Difference Between Important and Urgent
In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
recommends prioritizing tasks based on a time-management grid. Every task is assigned to a quadrant of the grid, based on whether it is urgent, important, both, or neither.
Once you know where a task falls on the grid, you’ll immediately know what you should be working on. For example, marketing and planning are important but not urgent. A ringing phone is urgent, but not important. The sales page for your new program, which is launching tomorrow, is both urgent AND important.
So before you prioritize your daily to-do list, think about where each of your tasks falls in the quadrant, and schedule them accordingly.
Will you always be working on the best task for right now? Probably not. Nor will you always use your time as wisely as you could. But by making a conscious effort to organize and prioritize your days, you’ll find it’s a lot less stressful and overwhelming to manage your small business.
Stay in Your Own Lane
Overwhelm is a real thing in online businesses. There is always more that could be done. More products to create, more blogs to write, more opt-in pages to build, more clients to connect with, more, more, more.
And one of the biggest contributors? Shiny object syndrome.
Every time you’re tempted to buy that new, must-have tool, or to test out a new marketing method, or even to switch business models entirely, you’re falling victim to this business killer.
Here’s the problem with shiny object syndrome. It prevents you from achieving success by shifting your focus away just when you’re about to hit your sweet spot. It’s true. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. A promising startup just begins to make sales and gain a following, and then out of the blue, the owner does a pivot into a completely unrelated niche or business.
All that work… just gone.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Set Clear Goals
The first step toward the clarity and focus you need to avoid shiny object syndrome is simply to know your goals. Where exactly are you going? Do you want to build a six-figure coaching program? Earn a living from your blog? Design websites for offline businesses?
Regardless of your business model, if you don’t know your goal, you will always struggle with focus, and every new strategy and tool will pull you further away from your dreams.
Commit to a Plan
Before you implement a new marketing strategy, change business plans, or even purchase a new tool, ask yourself if you’re truly willing to give it a fair shot at success. Marketing strategies take time to grow legs. Business models can require years to show a profit. And that shiny new tool won’t earn back its cost if you toss it aside next week for something different.
Be realistic with yourself, and make a plan to give your idea the best shot at success. Make a commitment to yourself and your business.
Put on Your Blinders
If all else fails, simply stop paying attention. Get off the mailing lists that endlessly promote the latest and greatest idea. Stop reading the blogs and visiting the Facebook groups. Don’t click on ads.
Focus on what you know works, keep your goals in mind, and recommit to making your business as good as it can possibly be.