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How to Prioritise in Business: Tips for Small Business Owners

If you’re the owner of a small business, your to-do list probably seems endless. With so many different things to do each day, it can be easy to forget the most important tasks that should take priority over the others. In order to make sure you’re spending your time in an efficient way, check out these tips on how to prioritise in business: tips for small business owners and make sure you aren’t forgetting anything important.

Have a rough plan
Having a rough plan for what you need to get done helps keep your priorities straight. Having a plan is especially important when you’re running a small business, where there are many tasks competing for your attention at once. Even if it’s only a loose idea of what needs to be accomplished over a week or month, having that schedule keeps you focused on key goals rather than getting sidetracked.

Ask what if questions
When you run a small business, things can get messy very quickly. It’s easy to fall into a routine and forget about planning and thinking ahead. The key to running a successful business is knowing what you have to do and prioritising it so that everything gets done efficiently and effectively. Ask yourself what if questions about your business – what if something goes wrong? What if your suppliers don’t deliver on time? What if a client doesn’t pay? I wonder if KFC ever thought “What if we run out of chicken?”. Asking what if is a way of planning, and will help prioritising what things need to be addressed and planned for.

Use the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule is a very effective way of identifying what you should focus on, and where you can perhaps delegate less important tasks. The 80/20 rule says that roughly 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities. Although these percentages may vary depending on your business and industry, it’s a useful guideline when prioritising what to do first and foremost when running a small business.

Work on your weaknesses first
Focus on your weaknesses, then get to work on turning them into strengths. One of our common failings as humans is that we tend to focus on our strengths and ignore our weaknesses. Sometimes we even fool ourselves into thinking we don’t have any weaknesses! By contrast, great business leaders are those who are brutally honest about their shortcomings—the ones they want fixed—and use them as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Don’t be afraid to think about your weaknesses as an individual, it may lead you to more training for example, or your weaknesses as a business, it could leads to huge benefits and growth.

Acknowledge when you are burned out
If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, there’s a good chance that you will experience high levels of stress on a regular basis. As such, it’s essential that you learn how to recognise when you are experiencing burnout. If left unchecked, burnout can lead to decreased productivity and potentially even a negative impact on your physical health. Rather than ignoring your lack of enthusiasm and motivation, take time out from your schedule each day to give yourself some much-needed downtime.

List everything you can do by priority level
One of the first things business owners should do when they’re trying to get started is list everything they can do. The easiest way to do that is by priority level. This may include simple things like office supplies, or much more complex tasks such as a marketing campaign. Remember that time and money are finite, so it’s important that you prioritise your tasks based on how much time each task will take, how expensive it will be, and what impact each task will have on your overall goals.

Reward yourself as you go through priorities
If you’re going big on your priorities, it’s important that you still take time out to reward yourself. Maybe take some time out after completing business tasks, to give yourself some ‘me-time’, even if it’s just 15 minutes here and there or an hour a few times per week. You deserve it!

Delegate something easily done by someone else
If there’s something you can easily delegate and it frees up your time to focus on higher priority tasks, then do it. If someone else can take care of that job with minimal supervision, let them. Here are some tips on how to delegate tasks in business effectively. Make a list of all of your daily responsibilities and go through each one with a fine-toothed comb, asking yourself if you could hand over that task—even if only partially—to another person or an automated process. If you are lucky enough to have a team behind you, make the most of them and work together!

We hope you found these ideas on how to prioritise in business: tips for small business owners useful. For more insights into how Savvy can help you and your business become more efficient, visit