One of the questions that I get asked on a frequent basis is a variation of “Should I do ‘X’?” where the ‘X’ is some business related activity.

Macro Focus

Several months back, an entrepreneur wanted my advice on an opportunity that had come her way to host her own radio show in a relatively large market. Certainly being a radio host sounds sexy, but it is, in fact, an activity that takes effort and time.

I asked her what her overall business goals were and she answered, “I am not sure”.  I told her that if she didn’t know what her goals were, how could either of us have any idea whether or not the radio show (i) supported her goals or (ii) was the most effective opportunity to support her goals?

I told her to get clearer on the end-goal and then we could evaluate the radio show to see if it was an effective tactic for her.

Micro Focus

Another entrepreneur wanted my feedback on spending his time.  He was supposed to go to an industry event to meet some companies to see if they might be potential future clients.  The problem was that he had several current client projects due and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to finish them right away if he went to the event.

Now, both items were important, but in terms of his priorities, it was a no-brainer.  He had clients who loved him, so getting those projects finished would get him paid immediately and further cement his existing client relationships.  This was much more important than chasing down a potential opportunity at the show.

Moreover, the reason the potential clients were attending the industry show was to sell their products, so the chances that they would be focused on someone looking to service them were greatly diminished.  He could streamline his business development efforts by reaching out by phone after the event to gauge whether it would be worth spending more time trying to develop a relationship.

How should you focus your business efforts?

As you decide how to spend your time, whether in your business as a whole or a specific daily task, use the following guide:

1-Does it further my goal?:  If what you are doing isn’t directly related to accomplishing what you have set out as your business goals, don’t do it.

2-Does it produce revenue?: Everything you do in your business should be tied to the goal of producing revenue.  Sometimes, it’s near term; sometimes, it’s long-term.  Sometimes, it directly will produce revenue; sometimes, indirectly.  While all are important, you want to prioritize those near term and direct opportunities.

3-Is there another way to accomplish this?: There are usually many paths to get somewhere; some more direct than others. If you are evaluating an opportunity or task, even if it serves your goals, take a look at whether there is a better, faster, smarter and/or more cost-effective way to accomplish and reach your goals.

Spending your time more effectively should pay off exponentially for your business.