As a small business owner, you understand the phrase' time is money" better than anyone. So with a seemingly endless list of tasks to take care of and evolving priorities at work, how can you become more efficient in your daily routine and still move your business forward?
Without the proper processes or tools, you can feel like you're spinning your wheels and never progressing toward your business objectives. But, you can better use your time and resources by learning to prioritize projects and proper goal-setting.
Continue reading below as we discuss why setting priorities at work is so crucial for your future growth.
Why is Priority Management Necessary for Your Small Business?
Priority management helps you utilize your resources efficiently and in the manner most beneficial to your business's long-term success.
This means you'll need to figure out how to prioritize projects, so you're spending the most time and resources on tasks that bring your company the most value and contributes to your high-level goals.
So even though all tasks are equally important, business owners must take the time to learn how to prioritize projects to be more efficient and gain control over their to-do lists.
Set SMART Goals First
Before you can move on to priority management, you need to clearly understand what the big picture for your business looks like. Once you have your high-level goals in mind, you'll know what tasks you need to accomplish to get there.
If you have not heard of SMART goals, it's a concise way of setting reasonable goals and keeping you accountable.
SMART stands for the main attributes that a good goal has, like being:
This is a great framework you can use when making goals for your business.
Here is an example of a goal that isn't part of the SMART framework:
We will grow the business to be the best in our region.
Do you need to be the best, or do you want the business to grow to have better financial performance? This goal needs to be more specific, and there would be no clear way to track or measure the progress toward the end objective. A few months or years may pass without real progress. Plus, it may be only some attainable, given the market that you operate in.
On the other hand, here is an example that is a SMART goal:
We will grow our revenue by +4% by the end of Q3 '23.
In this instance, the goal has specific parameters; it's measurable through tracking revenue levels, and an attainable goal was likely given. Also, the goal is relevant to improving financial performance, and there is a time frame set that allows you to review and reflect on whether you attained the goal.
As you continue reading below, you'll see how crucial SMART goals are to prioritizing management and helping your employees grow your business efficiently.
6 Steps to Prioritize Tasks at Work and Grow Your Business
With the tenets of SMART goals in mind, let's go over some steps you can take to set priorities at work to help you achieve your goals and grow your business faster.
Make a List
Priority management starts with making a general list of all the goals and projects you plan to implement. Being able to name the things you're trying to accomplish with your business may be a challenge, though it's a crucial step that needs to be done before you can move on to task prioritization and determine what needs to be done first.
Some of the things on this list might include:
- Re-work the onboarding process for new customers
- Ramp up hiring efforts in HR
- Look for ways to cut expenses
- Improve competitive positioning in the industry
Feel free to put a mixture of both short- and long-term goals, as managing priorities will come later–so don't worry about these projects' feasibility or time frame.
Once you've created a list, the next step in priority management is to prioritize the projects based on urgency and the impact of each task.
At this point, it's imperative that you find the balance between urgency and impact. Some tasks may not impact the business's performance too much, but they still need to be done quickly.
Consider a situation where a new employee onboarding process needs to be made, like creating a compliance training program. This may not be highly crucial to your customers and the financial performance of your business, though it likely impacts your employees and causes their day-to-day on the job to be more difficult. Thus, this could be an urgent project that needs a higher impact.
So as you're going through and setting priorities at work, give a score from 1–5 for each parameter–urgency and impact–and find the average number of those two. Then, rank your tasks based on this average score to see how to prioritize tasks.
Consider the Effort and Time Needed
During the task prioritization step, you must also consider the effort and time needed for each task. Since your team has a finite number of working hours per day, their time is valuable.
So, consider how difficult it would be for your employees to implement a given task and how much time would be required.
You will need reliable time-tracking software to help you and your employees track their working hours without having to do so by hand. This allows you to be more accurate with time estimations for future projects based on their past work on similar tasks and keeps all your records organized, up-to-date, and uniform.
Elorus Time Tracking Solution
Achieve the great time management and productivity control your company needs.
Be Flexible and Adaptive
As a small business owner, your main goal is to bring in steady revenue streams to keep supporting the company's operations.
But we all know that the first steps of this path can be uncertain, and you may need to rethink and re-order your priorities at work often.
If you find yourself in this situation, you must be flexible and adapt to new circumstances. However, before that occurs, ensure you're as objective as possible and only change the business priorities for a valid reason that will contribute to the business's success.
Divide & Delegate
With all the preparation in place, you can divide the prioritized projects into smaller subtasks and assign them wisely amongst the team. You do this to make the tasks more manageable for your employees and increase the likelihood that they will be completed promptly.
As the business owner, you know better than anyone else the skills that your team members possess and how much time each employee will need to implement a specific task. So, your responsibility is to adequately delegate tasks to the right person who will complete the task with the most outstanding efficiency.
As your team completes tasks and moves closer to achieving your high-level goals, always track your progress constantly.
You must monitor the progress of these projects to ensure that you're on track with your goals and see if you need to make any adjustments that would help you be more successful.
To do so efficiently, it would be helpful to use the proper project monitoring tool to engage with all involved members and retain complete control over the projects. This is why it's so important to have SMART goals to evaluate better your progress and success based on objective methodology.
Final Thoughts on Tasks Prioritization & SMART Goals
Making clear and concise goals using the SMART framework is a critical way for business owners to take control of where their business is headed and lead their team efficiently. With reasonable goals set and a transparent process to manage priorities on the job, you can move the needle forward for your business and promote sustainable growth for your team.
To do so effectively, you need the proper processes in place, as we've discussed, but you also need great tools and resources like a project monitoring and time tracking tool, which we offer at Elorus.
Giving you one centralized location to manage your team's progress towards your goals and keep all details of your team's work organized, you can achieve your goals more quickly and drive business growth with ease with Elorus. Try Elorus out today for free and see how we can transform and optimize your task implementation tasks in just a few clicks.