How to Prioritize Your Time and Avoid the #1 Reason Businesses Fail

Poorly managed cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail.

If the cash stops flowing (and there’s no money)…

  • You can’t pay yourself.
  • You can’t pay a support team or employees.
  • You can’t purchase the raw materials or the infrastructure (website, etc) needed to produce what you offer.
  • It feels like you can’t do much of anything except curl up in fetal position in the corner of your office…

… EXCEPT, you can discover the savvy and successful CEO’s secrets for prioritizing your daily activities and achieving a healthy cash flow.

The first rule of business is to recognize and embrace the fact that you are in business to produce a profit and in order to make a profit you must have healthy cash flow.  Today, for small businesses without easy access to credit lines or investment capital, cash flow means sales.

Here’s the low down on how to prioritize your time to ensure you have the cash flow to go the distance:

  1. Generate Revenue What’s the shortest distance between now and more revenue?
    Answer that question each and every day, then do that thing first and keep doing it day after day after day.  Hint: for most early stage businesses the shortest distance between you and meaningful revenue is a new one-on-one client.  The activity that will create a new client will probably involve getting on the phone and/or getting out and networking in person.  It likely won’t include upgrading your website, setting up a Google hangout or creating a webinar to sell a virtual program.
  2. Generate Leads How do I acquire more qualified leads and effectively nurture them to becoming customers?
    Coming in second but by a nose is lead generation.  What action or actions do you need to take today to grow your list or fill your sales pipeline?  The list might include connect with a potential affiliate partner, create a new opt in offer, or find a local networking group or event.  Take your lead generating action step immediately after you successfully complete your revenue generating activities.
  3. Develop Better Systems, Analyize and OptimizeWhat systems do I have in place and are they supporting revenue, leads and/or service after the sale?  How am I quantifying the results my systems are delivering?
    Systems provide the essential structure for your business that allows you to be more effective, efficient and organized.  System also provide essential information that let’s you know how you are doing.  A short list of systems that your business may use includes: sales pipeline management, e-commerce, email marketing, customer relationship management, accounting, customer service, content delivery, etc.
  4. Serve Your Clients and CustomersHow do I deliver my brand-promise and ensure a high quality customer experience?
    You may be surprised this is not higher on the list.   Fact is, you won’t have customers to deliver quality products and programs to or clients to serve unless you’ve prioritized sales, leads and systems!
  5. Get Real About Admin and Your OrganizationWhat support do I need to keep me organized and on-track?
    Staying personally organized is super important, just don’t let eclipse actually getting something done.  Being busy is not the same as being productive.
  6. Sip on Some Personal DevelopmentWho do I need to become to realize my vision?
    Important?  Absolutely and many would place it higher on the list.  However, far too many times I’ve witnessed new entrepreneurs invest heavily in the “mindset” side of the success equation and minimally if at all in the basics of business.  Being “success minded” is essential, but if you don’t know the right next action for you business, then your “success mindset” plus $3.00 will get you a latte grande.

Action Step:  Identify your top 10 weekly activities then put them in order with #1 representing “most of my time” to #10 representing “least of my time”.   Next, identify which from the priority list above where each of your 10 activities falls.   Be honest, and if your priorities need adjusting make the change now before the situation becomes critical.

About the Author

Leave a Reply 5 comments