As an entrepreneur, you are probably slightly frazzled, mildly frayed or full-on exhausted. I understand as I have been there too. I got to the point that if I had one more task to do, let alone another whole project, I was going to have a melt down. My mind and body were at its limits and those around me, both professionally and personally, felt it too. I was running on a hamster wheel with nothing left to give. Until one day when a colleague said to me:
You can achieve anything you want but you can’t do everything.
From that moment, I decided to focus on what I wanted to achieve: a thriving, successful, profitable business that allowed me to live a life I dreamed of.
I determined that avoiding entrepreneurial overload is a matter or prioritising the opportunities that are being presented by asking the following four questions:
- Which opportunity will bring my business the most revenue: Sounds obvious right? As entrepreneurs though this often doesn’t happen. We have a ‘to do’ list a mile long and usually focus on what we can cross off in the shortest amount of time. We love to see a bunch of items crossed off the list as it makes us feel like we have achieved a lot. The problem with this is that we get to the end of the day and wonder why we still feel like we haven’t achieved anything and that our business hasn’t moved forward. Now write a list of all the opportunities that will bring income into your business now.
- Which opportunity will require the least amount of time: Constant cash flow is crucial in any business, especially small business where we are more sensitive to the peaks and troughs of cash flow. As entrepreneurs we need to focus on opportunities that generate revenue in the short term as well as the long term. It is no point as an entrepreneur to spend the majority of your time writing a book if it will take two years to write, publish and then sell (and which will most likely not generate a lot of revenue for you). Go ahead and identify all the revenue generating opportunities that require the least amount of time.
- Which opportunity requires the least amount of resources: Now don’t misunderstand me and think I’m all about the quick fix. This certainly isn’t the case but what I am about is building a profitable business with integrity that doesn’t require undue amounts of time or resources that supports you to live a life you love. Some opportunities will be resource intensive and others won’t. Why waste resources on an opportunity that could be better spent elsewhere yielding more revenue in your business? So using your revenue generating opportunity list, which opportunities require the least amount of resources?
- Which opportunity has the greatest long-term impact on my business: We are at the tail end of deciphering which opportunity to focus on and whilst I am all about using minimal time and resources to grow your business, we can’t ignore what will give us the greatest long-term impact as well. Short-term injections of revenue are fabulous for business but nothing beats ongoing revenue from one project. Just imagine how ongoing revenue would benefit your business and your life? I know for my private clients and I, this is one of the keys to building a sustainable and profitable business.
When you assess each opportunity by using these four questions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is one opportunity that generates the most revenue, with the least amount of time, with the least amount of resources and has the greatest long-term impact. An opportunity could be the best outcome in three of the four questions and moderately on the last. Don’t rule this opportunity out, as this could be the perfect opportunity to move your business forward. If two opportunities are close, trust you gut and move forward on one.
Now I want to hear from you! How do you deal with overwhelm as an entrepreneur? What successes have you achieved by getting clear on your priorities.