As small business owners, sometimes we get so focused on the “tasks at hand” we forget the “bigger picture.” Unfortunately, that happened to me last week. CreateWOW had a couple of projects “Pop Up” that HAD TO get done before the week was out. So, being the eternal “people-pleaser” I am, I did my very best to deliver. (Sound familiar?)

In a caffeine induced, gel-crackling, bearded blur, I dug in and wrote scripts, created and produced radio and webinar spots, coded, designed and delivered as quickly as I possibly could. Logos. Creative outlines. Proposals. You name it, I was a laser-focused marketing production time machine. I posted web articles (blogs) and wrote drafts for review and scheduling. I designed, tore apart and redesigned whole websites, and the clients were happy…

Then, come Friday night, I looked at my “to-do” list and realized I’d actually accomplished very little.

Sure, when the week came to a close, a handful clients were happy (thrilled?), but others were standing there with project outlines, drafts and schedules hanging in the cold winter breeze like forgotten laundry.  And we all know how laundry seems to pile up – like it or not…

I walked away confused and dejected.

The Battle: Reactionary vs. Responsible

So, was I focused on my clients or oblivious to my actual job?

In my business plan, I professed it was my

“…duty to create the most effective and efficient marketing solutions for our clients while integrating emerging technologies for optimal return on their marketing dollar. We (I) commit to perform my duties while maintaining focus on all clients’ needs and directives and supporting them at every stage of their marketing programs …”

(Yeah, I tend to get a bit wordy.)

So, where did I go wrong? Considering all of the work put into last week, why did the “to-do” list grow instead of shrink?

I was reactionary.

As a small business owner, I’m certain this won’t be the last time “focus” turns my attention from the bigger picture (working ON the business instead of IN it). But to maintain that production level (and constant flow of income) what should I do to keep it from happening again?

  • Say “No” to “hot” projects? (leaving potential opportunity and money on the table)
  • Hire more interns/assistants to help me keep the right wheels rolling? (potentially counteracting our profit model)
  • Work longer hours? (psssst… my wife and children greatly dislike this idea…)

All of the above…???

As a small business owner, I had to make a cognitive decision to be responsible to the company, not just the bottom line. If not, I / We, as small business owners, will simply spin the wheels of progress and growth – sinking deeper and deeper into the dirt.

Get up, focus, delegate and deliver!

How do YOU keep your focus when a deluge of “To-Do’s” come across your desk? Do you line ’em up and smack ’em down as they come in or do you prioritize and then delegate? Often times the answer is based on the size of your company. I’d love to hear your story.

Whatever you do, keep moving forward!

Keep Cooking (’cause that’s all you have time for…) 😉
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef