Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize!
I have a friend whose favorite slogan is, “Organize, Deputize, and Terrorize,” and I’d add “Prioritize” to that group.
Now it sounds fairly simple at the outset, but as you begin to put it on paper strange things begin to happen. Entrepreneurs will begin to see their ideas take form and direction, and even identify some stumbling blocks.
As entrepreneurs, we have this strange system of keeping our goals, visions, and modus operandi in our heads and not on paper. That’s not a sure path to failure, but think of the time when you need a stand-in for your business. You wouldn’t be able to have one take over until they spent about a week in training with you. Instead, let’s put that slogan to work now and get it on paper before we have that need.
1. ORGANIZE – Put your present operating procedures down on paper in the order to be done. Any format that pleases you will do – it may begin with the time to open the office/store or the order in which to accomplish daily tasks. Whatever your particular business needs to function and produce. Think of how and what you do everyday that leads to you being successful, and put it on paper. Here is where you’ll also include your “goals” and your plan for achieving them.
2. PRIORITIZE – Here’s where I’d insert this item. Once you know what it takes to run the day-to-day operations of your business, you can prioritize the tasks by their importance. What must be done first, and what second. To explain it simply, you can’t open a store for business before you have the change money in the cash register. Apply this line of reasoning to your business operations.
3. DEPUTIZE – This is the next item on your paper that tells who will/does accomplish which job or task. What is expected of them each day, and who takes over if they’re not available? If you haven’t assigned particular responsibilities to your staff, perhaps now is the time to evaluate each person to determine who would do which job the best. (As entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to think that nobody else could do a task better than ourselves, but you can’t do everything – and now is the time to delegate.)
4. TERRORIZE – Perhaps this is too harsh a word to use. What I really mean is that once you’ve assigned a task to someone let them run with it, don’t get in their way but keep track of the progress. If you assign a particular job to a person, let them handle it but keep a tickler file so that you can follow-up to see that it’s been done. This is not playing “Big Brother,” but making sure that the ball isn’t dropped and disaster is diverted.
Once you go through this exercise, you’d be amazed at how clearly you begin to see how many of the goals you had at the outset of your business have been successfully accomplished, and which ones still need work in the coming months. You might even surprise yourself at how well you’ve done thus far.
As entrepreneurs we all like to be the “Captain of our ship”, but remember even a Captain needs a crew to sail the boat and bring it safely to port.