So you’ve made the leap into the unknown and committed to finally starting your own business. Now what? The to-do list you have created looks huge and overwhelming, where do you start?
Business to-do lists will vary hugely from business to business, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself to decide which are the tasks you should be working on:
1. What will have the largest impact on my business?
Are there any tasks that have a leverage or scaling effect i.e. a little effort (or even a lot of effort) creates a much greater return on the time invested? For example; you may need to update your financial ledger with invoices paid and also come up with a new referral scheme, do the one first that has the biggest multiplier effect (hint: it ain’t the invoices…)
2. What frees other people to get working on other tasks?
Sometimes there will be tasks that you can complete that mean others are then released to be getting on with other, new work. Maybe you need to give comments back to designers on the latest screens they have sent you, by doing this first they can then work through the comments while you do something that doesn’t need anyone else’s input for
3. Which tasks are stopping me from working on others?
Maybe you need to draft a business plan, but in order to do that effectively you need to come up with a proper revenue model so you can assess what your best strategies are. Get the model built first then work on the business plan
4. Do any have real deadlines?
Naturally we impose deadlines on ourselves for things, but are there any external ‘harder’ deadlines that we must adhere to? Submitting VAT returns or financial statements for example. Get these done and out of the way ASAP.
5. What do I really not want to do?
I am sure you have numerous things sitting on your to-do list that have been there for a while now, so much so that you feel they are part of the to-do furniture. Get them off the list now. Get into a habit of doing the things you least want to-do first leaving the nicer things as a treat for the end. This requires considerable discipline but you will find yourself significantly more productive as a result.
Now you have asked yourself these questions I imagine you probably have a pretty good idea of what your priorities are, so get them down somewhere visible and start ploughing through them!