Business owners have a list of tasks that they must complete daily, weekly, and monthly. Other tasks require quarterly and annual attention.
Each one is an essential component that keeps companies afloat, and several will overlap. Therefore, owners must figure out how to prioritize the tasks.
Tasks fall into several categories including:
- Human resources
- Customer service and fulfillment
- Finance and accounting
- Business growth
Common business tasks include:
- Issuing employee paychecks
- Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations
- Training employees to deliver superior customer experiences
- Exploring expansion opportunities
- Procuring capital to invest in inventory or marketing
Each duty carries importance although it’s not always equal.
Employees show up to work because their employer pays them for their time and efforts. To pay employees, your company must create streams of revenue. Gaining loyal customers builds at least one steady income stream. The service or goods that you provide require an investment.
Thus, business operations move in a continuous circle; so does the American economy.
Since business operations remain a series of interconnected pieces, you must nurture each. However, it’s not possible to complete everything simultaneously unless you employ some strategies.
Follow this guide on how to prioritize tasks.
1. Check the Due Date
In theory, the most urgent assignments should always receive priority. To start prioritizing tasks, check their due dates.
Whether you use an electronic calendar or a whiteboard, post the duties and their due dates. To organize them further, group similar assignments.
For example, if you pay your employees weekly, you need a subtask that reminds you to process payroll. Business owners also need to ensure that their bank account has the funds. Thus, make a deposit.
2. Check the Task Completion Time
As you review your calendar, take into account the amount of time each task requires for completion.
The payroll example shows that it takes several steps to ensure that employees receive their paychecks on time. Other assignments don’t have subtasks but they require several hours or days to complete.
Therefore, when you prioritize, allow enough time for the completion of each task. By spacing the timeline out ahead of time, you ensure that you avoid last-minute situations. They create undue stress and incur greater costs.
For example, if you need to print flyers for a marketing event, printers charge an extra fee for last-minute jobs. Since they must delay other jobs to give you a priority, they charge more.
If you place your printing order with a day or two to spare, the fees are cheaper. Moreover, you have time to review the final product before handing it out.
3. Review Your Goals
Now you’re ready to review your goals and match them to your prioritized tasks.
Business owners who plan to take their company in a certain direction must actively work toward it. Therefore, related tasks should move up to the top of the list.
Tasks that help finance business operations should receive priority.
Picking the Right Financing
Financing a business venture is very important. You either invest in raw materials to produce goods or in marketing to promote your company’s services.
Among the financial decisions that you’ll make is picking between grants and loans. Business owners love grants. It’s free money that has few requirements. However, you might fill out several applications before scoring a grant.
Business loans have a set of benefits too. For example, established companies can obtain a significant amount. The downside is the interest rate charges that make the financing more expensive. However, the right accountant can help you find the deductions that offset some of the charges.
4. Understand the Customer Journey
Next, you’re ready to incorporate the customer journey into your list of priorities.
Professionals recommend mapping it out; it helps to visualize the journey.
When your sales team approaches a potential client, they might land the sale on the first try. However, what happens if the customer says no?
How many times can your sales team ask the client before it’s time to move on?
More importantly, why is the prospect saying no instead of yes?
Prioritizing tasks that help the sales team overcome roadblocks will add to the bottom line.
When business owners hire the best staff, they don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to them.
Entrepreneurs wear all the hats. The downside is that it burns them out more quickly. Plus, studies show that multi-tasking is not as effective as some believe.
Since a business owner is closer to understanding the priorities, they can delegate some to the appropriate employee and department. Then, the staff will work their magic on the task.
6. Use Decision Making Models
If prioritizing your duties poses a challenge, consider using decision-making models.
The Eisenhower Matrix is also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix. It categorizes assignments into four categories:
- Urgent and important
- Important but not urgent
- Urgent but not important
- Not urgent and not important
The Matrix helps professionals dig deeper into their priorities.
In the best-case scenario, this guide will help prevent avoidable last-minute tasks. It helps professionals build a cushion in case something that’s out of your control does go sideways.
The Matrix is one more layer that helps professionals analyze their priorities. It shows that something might become urgent but it’s not important. Thus, you can refocus resources and staff on tasks that qualify as urgent and important.
7. Employ Software
This guide has taken you through several steps that have you research. The takeaway should lead to deeper insights into your business priorities.
Since you remain busy, it’s a good idea to place the insights somewhere that you can access them for reference later. Therefore, consider employing software.
Customer relationship management platforms store business data in the Cloud. Thus, the information is accessible online through most devices.
CRMs automate redundant tasks, help business owners map the customer journey, and provide opportunities to nurture leads.
Prioritizing your tasks requires a few steps. To optimize them, take a look at their due dates, the time it takes to complete them, and your goals. Individuals can use decision models to dig deeper. Then, they can place everything in a CRM and set up reminders, alerts, and notifications.