Business strategy: How to pick what to work on first

Small Business Tip Prioritize The Essentials FirstHave you noticed how easy it is to get caught up in the “shoulds” when running your business? Seems like everyone has a blueprint telling you what you “should” do.

Things like

  • “Just buy my blueprint and you’re a millionaire.”
  • “No no, just do it MY way and you too will be living in a mansion in 2 seconds flat.”
  • “Just buy my guaranteed system and, out of the box, your worries are over.”
  • “Just do these teleseminars (or webinars or whatevers) and you can make 6 Figures NOW.”
  • “Just create an info product and you’ll have people falling at your feet, begging to throw their millions at you.”

That’s bullshit and I’m so tired of hearing it,  I could scream.

Yes, maybe that blueprint that worked for someone and, I’m sure, if you’re them or just like them, it could work for you too.

And yes, I have recommendations, systems, opinions and the like.

Of course I do.

And this one is, NOT, I repeat….NOT…. opinion.

This is fact.


(It doesn’t work when you go looking for a t-shirt and it doesn’t work in business!)


(It may work in a Disney movie and it doesn’t work in business!)

What WORKS is a recipe with the ingredients and proportions that suit you, your vision and YOUR business.

What WORKS is digging in and doing the next do-able step with a REAL approach, a REAL person who isn’t pulling the wool over your eyes or trying to make a fast buck, at YOUR expense.

OOPS, did I get off on a rant? Seems so and this crap honks me off. I’ve fallen victim to this line of BS, as have many of those I work with or chat with.

And that’s NOT, repeat NOT, okay with me!

You deserve better. I deserve better. We deserve to have a successful life and business—and that doesn’t come from that BS.

You need straight up answers and solutions.


Now back to our discussion…how to pick what to work on first

Since there are so many things needing done and so many things to grab your attention (can you say NSOS,  Next Shiny Object Syndrome anyone?), you’ve got to prioritize somehow. And my recommendation is that you answer the 10 questions every business owner NEEDS to ask before making any other choices.

You’ve got to take the basic recipe (like “gee, I need a way to collect money or follow up with people), create systems to handle them (with the right ingredients in the right proportions remember) and get things done, one do-able step at a time. If you want to hire me and my handpicked team to take it off your plate, you’ll definitely get “there” a whole lot faster!

Why isn’t it such a drain on a outsourced team? Because that team isn’t running all the other parts of the business at the same time!

If you’re doing all this yourself, you simply MUST cut yourself some slack and prioritize!

The thing is there are so many things to do. There is

  • your passion (of course), what makes your heart sing, your toes tap, what you’re really good at doing, your “Zone of Excellence” if you will
  • the running a business stuff (from marketing to invoicing to collections and everything in between)
  • the technology stuff (which computer to buy, what software to use, how to use it, how to recover from the unceccoverable error, who to hire to do it for you)
  • an income to generate (Services? Products? Programs? Live events? Virtual Events? One-on-one?)

So is it any wonder you’re ready to give up?

(If you’re old enough to remember “Calgon, take me away”, give yourself a pat on the back for making it through to today and do share your experiences in the comments below!)

How DO you prioritize

Prioritize your work into essential (makes money), nice to have, and can waitIt may sound boring to go through all of this, AND to get everything done, you’ve got prioritize. So ask these 3 questions

  1. What is essential?
  2. What is a nice to have?
  3. What can wait?

So how do you pick what is essential?

You ask yourself one question

[box type=”info”] Will this make me money now (like a proposal or a  phone call to someone you met) or in the near future (like organizing your signature system into a simple report?)[/box]

Once you know the answer to THAT question, you can get to work on figuring out the steps, finding a system that works and putting that system to the test.

This is how I help clients create a system that works and what you get to do to make your business work YOUR way. You could even use some of these tips for prioritizing content to prioritize your overall business decisions, systems decisions and technology choices.

Do share!

Do share with class. How do YOU prioritize what needs doing? What is challenging for you? Inquiring minds (like mine!) want to know.

You can do this. WE can do this. Together.


  • No magic wand! Anyone who has a business knows that to be successful, you need to be doing the RIGHT things and you need to work HARD! At least for the first 3-5 years… You did a great job with this article, Thanks!

    • MamaRed says:

      Glad ya liked the article!

      Nope, no magic wand. Dang it all anyway (smile). And I think a lot of us buy into the hype and don’t realize all those systems come from hard work and focus.

  • Lorii Abela says:

    Planning could take so much time not to mention the prioritizing part. As overwhelming as it may seem, prioritizing is very crucial in business. Thanks for the tip MamaRed. What do you think is the most effective strategy you could give for someone who’s only starting business online?

    • MamaRed says:

      Great question Lorii. Sometimes it seems like the planning and prioritizing is a waste of time and it’s taking you from the “other stuff.” From experience, I know it saves time AND money and is well worth it. For someone just starting out, start with

      what you want to do
      who you want to do it for
      then pick 1 product or service and make sure it solves the problem your perfect client needs solved

  • Amy says:

    I think this is just what I needed to read TODAY. I signed up for your e-mail updates and I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to read what I need to help me to grow my business. Thanks!

    • MamaRed says:

      Hi Amy…welcome to the Get igKnighted Family … so glad to hear you are signed up for updates. I love helping businesses grow, especially by getting clear on that big picture and then breaking it down into do-able steps. Let me know what ya need, ‘k?

  • Ruth Clark says:

    Wow…you really nailed it this time. I would like nothing better than to be able to put together a team. Unfortunately, I must get some funds coming in first.

    My biggest problem? Getting sidetracked. Like this awesome blog post. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time right now than reading your blog posts and “catching up.”

    There’s this little voice in my head that says, “Are you checking email and reading blogs again??”

    I’m getting really good at saying, “you betcha.”

    At this point, these blogs I’m visiting are my main source of mentoring.

    I am picky.

    I am “choosey.”

    That’s the key in using time and wasting time. I choose to think I am using my time wisely right now.

    It’s storming outside and I love the sound of all that thunder and rain. Just hope and pray no one gets hurt.

    Going now to wisely catch up on some blog posts. :)

    • MamaRed says:

      Hi Ruth…I know that in between stage when there is more than you can do yourself (or may know HOW to do yourself) and the funding. Definitely a challenge. Don’t forget to look into your family and your community for no-cost or low cost resources that could lend a hand and build their portfolio and future at the same time. Think kids, grandkids, neighborhood kids, internship programs, work study programs, etc.

      And I’m honored that I’m part of your “using time wisely” time. That’s kewl and much appreciated!

  • Excellent and eye opening post. There is no magic when it comes to building a successful business. There is hard work and PLANNING involved. Thanks!

    • MamaRed says:

      Hi Miriam and welcome to the Get igKnighted family. Glad you liked the post and you pulled out a key component: it takes work and planning. No magic wands (at least that I’ve found, if you find one, let me know, ‘k?)

  • Katrina says:

    I have chased enough shiny objects in my life time. Now I kick myself for no applying the resources I already had. I had everything I need to build an info product and the tools to market it and I didn’t even know it. It took me going back through my resources to find it.
    You are right in that you need to find what is making money and apply your strengths. Great post!

    • MamaRed says:

      Oh boy, do I hear you Chef Katrina. Like you, I could have done so many things SOOOOOOOOOO long ago and been in a much different place. Talking learning from the School of Hard Knocks and Life Lessons, eh? So glad you’re finding the resources already available and putting them work for you. Have a great one!

  • Lisa says:

    Great Tips, No MagicWand, I Love It!!

    • MamaRed says:

      Hi there Lisa…a coupon addict, eh? Love it and glad you liked the post. Have a great one!

  • Lisa Mallis says:

    Hi! Another great post! When I prioritize I ask, “What’s the #1 thing I can do to move my business forward today?” Then I do that first. After that, I look at the items on my task list and move through them in a time order (what’s happening next?) If I’m working on a new habit (like the UBC) then that habit is placed between #1 thing and the task list dictated by time.

    Keep the great ideas coming!


    • MamaRed says:

      Hi Lisa…what a smart way to work (and so like you!). You would think it was a standard way of working and I find it hasn’t been for me OR for many other business owners that I work with, know and love. See, we need you my dear!

    • Lisa Mallis says:

      Thanks for the kudos – you rock!!!


  • Arleen says:

    Great post, I love the way you ranting as I think most of us feel that way. Each day I figure out what do I want to accomplish. I don’t let other things side track me or I never get anything done. You need a plan and stick with it. I use the idea of touch paper once. If it is unimportant is gets discarded so I don’t have to think about it anymore. I am a perfectionist which I can drive my nuts so I am learning to let the small stuff go

    • MamaRed says:

      Thanks Arleen, glad you like the rant (it’s been burbling up behind closed doors for a while and I can no longer stay silent!). I’m a recovering perfectionist too, so I get that one and admire your discipline to figure out each day and stick with it! Thanks for modeling the behavior and yup, let that small stuff go. It’s a practice, eh?

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