Ask Three Questions: How to Prioritize Everyday Strategies
February 9, 2018
By: Cathie Ericson
Every small business is bombarded with competing priorities. But as you hustle to put out fires, are you really missing opportunities? The best way to keep your eye on the prize is through prioritizing strategically.
Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if you are focusing on your top priority every day.
1. Am I duplicating efforts?
Any business only has so much time and money, and small businesses can feel the pinch even faster. That’s why it’s important for team members to communicate with one another so they know who’s doing what. Take a cue from software companies that routinely use daily “scrum” sessions, where a group has a short meeting to discuss what each person is working on and then heads off to accomplish the tasks. A scrum helps cross-functional teams enhance productivity and ensure that everyone is focusing on what they do best.
You’ve probably found it’s much easier to stay on budget in your personal life when you identify wasted expenses, like realizing you could cut your cable bill by ditching nonessential channels, or that you’re spending hundreds of dollars on takeout.
Nothing can boost a budget faster than finding unexpected cost savings: Small expenses add up fast, so consider a regular audit. Here are three places you can probably make some changes:
Suppliers: Reducing the number of vendors you work with can reduce costs due to volume pricing and consolidated delivery fees. It can also be a huge time saver since you only have to deal with one account manager who knows your business inside and out. After all, time is money.
Sometimes it’s not just the thing you are doing that’s most important; it's the thing you are not. Stay with us: We’re talking “opportunity cost,” which Investopedia defines as “the benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action.”
So before you decide to focus all your efforts and budget on marketing Service “A,” think long and hard about whether it’s truly a better win than potentially offering Service “B,” or dividing resources to focus on both options at once and cross-sell. In other words, it’s not just what you are doing, but what you gave up to choose the other option — which can have a huge effect on your business success.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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