If not, you are incredibly lucky. But I think most of us have been there, and some of us (that is myself definitely included) may have even lost the plot and threw our arms up in the air or started procrastinating at around egg/chicken situation number four.
Let me give you an example. One of our amazing and very successful B2B clients had to make some quick decisions on prioritising the following projects:
- Getting premises
- Launching product sales on existing website
- Recruiting a new fee earning member of staff
- Expanding in a new geographical area
- Packaging up and launching a new service offering
- Employing a new marketing assistant
There is a valid case and potential opportunity for each of these projects. And the timeline for completion on all of these projects together is just six months due to the seasonal nature of the business. So where do you start? How do you decide which one to do first?
Here’s what we did:
1) Define the top two limiting resources you have. These are the two things that you expect to be the bottleneck in your business development in the next year or so. The most common two are generally time (“I don’t have any more time to dedicate to work”) and money (“I don’t have infinite amounts of money to throw at countless numbers of projects”). This was the case above as well.
2) Thoughts to paper time. Grab the biggest piece of blank paper you can lay your hands on. I’m talking A3+ size here. Divide the paper to sections – make at least two additional sections to the number of ideas buzzing in your brain, as you will probably remember another two potential projects as you go along. Head the sections up by the project title. In the above case the new service offering was an additional entry to the original five already on the table.
3) Work through how each project will affect your limited resources. In simple terms using time and money as my limiting resources my five questions were:
- How much money will it cost?
- How much money will it make?
- How much of my time will it take?
- How much of my time will it free up?
- Could I outsource it?
4) Connect the dots. At this point a very clear starting point emerged. The starting point became the recruitment of a fee earning person. The path onwards was also very easy to follow, and the order became 3, 4, 6, 5, 2 and finally 1, with all projects to be completed in the next six months.
5) Crunch the numbers. Of course as an accountant I will say this. But seriously, now is the time to double check that you won’t run into cash flow difficulties and that you have adequate finance in place should it be required.
6) Breathe. Just do it. Enjoy.
If you choose to try this method on some future projects, let me know how you get on please. I would love to know.