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Decision Making Development Entrepreneurship Life Progress Self-awareness

Making One-way Door Decisions

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Managers in big corporations like Amazon, Virgin, and Facebook use a particular problem-solving approach. Whenever they face a decision to make, at first, they determine if that decision is a two-way door decision or a one-way door decision. Two-way door decisions are cheap. You can try them, see if they work, and get back to the starting point in case of failure. One-way door decisions are harsh. They are related to significant risks and things that you can’t reverse. And even if you do get back, you will never be at the same point where you started. One-way decisions require thorough considerations and should never be rushed.

Corporations are corporations, but can we use this decision-making approach in our own daily lives? Absolutely. Have a look at several custom-tailored examples of how you could make one-way decisions.

A choice to be made for a life explorer

You like adventures. Going to concerts and festivals is in your blood. You feel best when socializing with friends and making new connections. But there is one small problem: you can’t decide whether to get yourself the first tattoo you want or skip. When you have a tattoo, there is no way back. Or at least not an easy way.

So you have two choices, so far:

  1. Get a tattoo.
  2. Keep your body tattoo-free.

Think about your values?

Would the tattoo reflect your original personality? Or would the tattoo-free body reflect your personality more?

In 30 years, would you regret more about making a tattoo on your body? Or would you regret more that you decided not to make a tattoo at this time?

Do your health conditions support a tattoo? Or would your health conditions support a clean body more?

Would your body look more aesthetic with a tattoo or without it?

Would you feel more fulfilled with a tattoo or without it?

Does your profession allow you to have a tattoo, or unfortunately not?

Will your friends and relatives support you more with a tattoo or without it?

The list could go on.

Evaluate your choices by all those different criteria. Then sum up the advantages of each approach. And here, you will get a clear picture of whether to have a nonvanishing sign on your skin or rather have plain mundane skin.

A choice to be made for an artist

You are creative. Your head is always full of visuals. Your imagination is rich. You always are ahead with new ideas. But here you go: you need to choose a theme for your next collection. If you do it wrong, you might lose a lot of your followers. Your reputation can be ruined. You won’t be accepted in the most significant exhibition houses anymore.

So you have several themes that you like:

  1. Green living
  2. Women rights
  3. Space exploration
  4. Things people carry every day
  5. Street art metamorphosis
  6. Human cloning
  7. Visualising music
  8. Retrospective on children psychology
  9. Art therapy for anger management

Think of how you wanna be remembered in your old age.

  • Influential
  • Impactful
  • Mysterious
  • Financially free
  • Respected
  • Authentic
  • etc.

Think about each of your ideas, how they will match your expectations about yourself.

Will the collection about “Green living” make you influential? What about impactful? Will you be considered mysterious if you choose this theme? Can it make you financially safe?

When you evaluate each of your themes by each quality you want to achieve, you will have a clear picture of your topic. 

A choice to be made for an NGO fundraiser:

As an NGO fundraiser working for an ecological cause, you have to choose a crowdfunding platform which you will communicate on your website, social media, and press releases. Once the news is out, you can’t get them back. But there are so many crowdfunding platforms to choose from. It’s confusing. Which of them is the best? How not get lost in decision-making fatigue?

Should you choose one of the dinosaurs like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe? Should you go with the plain good PayPal? Or should you make use of one of the new platforms like Kindful, Handbid, Sodality.app, Fundly, Qgiv, 360MatchPro, Donately, Classy, CoinUp, Fundraise Up, RaiseDonors, GivingFuel, you name it? How not get lost in paralysis by analysis?

Think of some criteria which are essential for choosing your crowdfunding platform. Something like these would work:

  • Is your category supported on that platform?
  • Can you keep what you collected even if you didn’t reach the goal?
  • Are the transaction fees low?
  • Is the platform fee low or even none?
  • Is the monthly fee low or even none?
  • Are there giving levels with presents for the donations to motivate the donors?
  • How customizable is your fundraising profile?
  • Is the platform well known in your country?

Do your research. Answer those questions for each of your platforms. Then sum up the results and see which of the platforms got the most points.

A choice to be made for a project manager

The company you are working at has already gained some traction. Several different potential clients have reached out wanting to get your services. But your resources are limited, and you can only serve 2 or 3 of them at a time. Which of them should you choose? Once you establish a connection, you have to stick with it: the projects and the clients will be listed in your portfolio, web searches, press, etc.

Do you have a vision of an ideal client? Think of some criteria for choosing your best clients. For example, some of them could be:

  • How much are your goals shared?
  • How much do you respect that client?
  • How much do you believe in their brand?
  • How much do they respect what you do?
  • How much those clients fit your culture and ways of communication?
  • How willing are you to work on their project?
  • How competent is your company to work with this client’s needs?
  • How much are those clients ready to pay for the quality instead of just costs?
  • How much is it likely to form long-term collaborations with this client?

Anything more to add?

Evaluate each of those questions for each client with a number from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Then sum up the points for each client and see your winners.

A choice to be made for a frontend engineer

When somebody says that HTML is a programming language, it turns your eyes red and puts your head on fire. You know the slightest differences of each browser and how to make a website tick on each of them. But every time you start a new big project, you have to deal with this question again and again: which JavaScript framework to use?

Should you use React, Angular, or Vue? Should you try Svelte, Preact, Ember.JS, Backbone.js, Mithril.js, Polymer.js, Meteor.js, Aurelia, Express.js, vanilla JavaScript with web components? Or should you just stick with the old friend jQuery?

Once you choose a JavaScript framework for a project, you can switch to another one only when you do a major update of the website, probably in a few years.

Start with the criteria:

  • Is that framework trending this year?
  • Has it been growing on Google trends?
  • Does it feel familiar?
  • Is it simple to start with?
  • Is the documentation clear and extensive?
  • Do you like the coding principles in that framework?
  • Are there enough StackOverflow answers about that framework?
  • Is there a friendly and helping community behind the framework?
  • Are there enough jobs using this framework in your city, country, or remotely?
  • Does this framework has enough Github stars?

Add more criteria if you consider something is missing.

Do some googling, read some articles, do what you need, and answer those questions for each of your frameworks. Then sum up your yeses, and here you have the answer!

A choice to be made for a startup founder

You have produced an app and bootstrapped a company, the sales are happening, you have a stable income, but you want to scale it now and need some extra money for the new hires and marketing. Which financing option should you choose – that’s a question.

  • Should you fund yourself with money from your family?
  • Should you seek venture capital?
  • Could an Angel investor help you?
  • Should you rely on funding-based investment companies?
  • Would you consider crowdfunding?
  • Or is crowdinvesting a better option?
  • Should you get a bank loan?
  • What about getting a grant?
  • Are you in Europe and would like to get European Union funding?

Which of those financing options are best for your business?

Let’s start with the criteria. By what criteria could you evaluate your financing options? My hint would be those:

  • How likely can your business afford this type of financing?
  • How likely is your time in business appropriate for getting this type of financing?
  • How likely can you get the required amount from this type of financing?
  • How likely will your credit history allow this type of financing?
  • How much is this financing option based on your chosen financing form (debt or equity)?
  • How likely will the economic period (current growth or recession) allow this type of financing?
  • How much do you like the lender or investor?

Would you add anything else?

Evaluate each financing option from each perspective with likeliness points from 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely). Then sum up the points for each option, and you’ll get the winners.

Invitation

If you are tired of Excel sheets and pen and paper are too limiting, I invite you to try and use the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st“. There you can evaluate things by multiple criteria and get your priorities sorted out.

With the tool, you can evaluate your things with yes or no answers or gradually. Also, you can set different weights for different criteria if some of them are more important to you.

Final words

Some decisions we make in our lives are reversible. People call them “two-way door decisions.” But other decisions have a major impact on your life and work, and you cannot easily get back to the point where you started. These are called “one-way door decisions.”

When you face a one-way door decision, you can’t act spontaneously and have to evaluate your choices from all the different perspectives.

To do that efficiently, you can make use of strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. See you there!


Cover photo by Brett Jordan

Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Strategically Select Stories for Your Weekly Newsletter

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The problem: lack of clarity

Let’s say you have a mailing list with a few thousand subscribers. You send a newsletter every week on Tuesdays at 2 pm. You want to keep your subscribers engaged with some news related to your service and some industry news and opinions from around the world.

You use Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds, medium.com blogs, and your secret source to discover new exciting information from your industry. How would you decide which of the findings to send in the newsletter? You probably don’t want to send randomly selected news, because it matters to you how many subscribers you will have and how many of them will click on your links and buy your products.

You will carefully select your stories by the following criteria:

  • Is it relatable to your target user?
  • Is the news source trustworthy?
  • Are the events described actual?
  • Is the story captivating?
  • Does it create positive vibes?

One of the best ways to make a decision is to use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st.

The solution: using 1st things 1st

The workflow of the strategic prioritizer is pretty straightforward and consists of four steps:

  1. Defining criteria
  2. Listing out stories (or other things)
  3. Evaluating stories by each criterion
  4. Exploring priorities
Workflow

Let’s have a look at how to do that!

⚙️ Project setup

Log in to 1st things 1st and create a new project. From the prioritization project templates, choose “Blank”.

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. Enter a project title and optionally a description. For example, you can call your project “Stories for the Newsletter”:

Enter project title

2. Decide how to name things. In this case, we will be evaluating Stories by Criteria.

Decide how to name things

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Add criteria

The first step of prioritization is adding criteria. Choose Bulk add criteria and enter these criteria one per line:

Relatable
Trustworthy
Actual
Captivating
Positive

Choose the evaluation type From “definitely not” to “definitely” for them.

Bulk add criteria

You will get five criteria created in your project. Now to set the importance of any of the criteria less than 100%, edit that criterion.

Criteria listed

💡 Step 2. Add stories

In the next step, you will add stories to prioritize. For example, you want to sort three stories about Augmented Reality:

Choose Bulk add stories and enter the titles one per line:

Facebook teases a vision of remote work using augmented and virtual reality

Copy and paste the real world with your phone using augmented reality

This augmented reality eyepiece lets firefighters see through smoke
Bulk add stories

You will get the stories added to the project. There you can edit each of them and, for example, add the links in the descriptions:

Stories listed

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate stories by criteria

Now evaluate all stories by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. Be aware that the number of evaluations will be equal to criteria × stories.

Let’s say, the first two stories are probably relatable, because lots of people work from home and copy-paste, but the story about firefighters are possibly relatable because not so many people extinguish fires. The first two stories are definitely trustworthy, because verge.com has high Alexa site ranking, and the third story is probably trustworthy because the ranking is lower. The story about Facebook’s employees working from home is probably not very captivating, because the video is of poor quality, but the other two stories are pretty captivating. 

Evaluate stories by criteria

📊 Step 4. See priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted stories grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Explore priorities

As a result, all of the chosen stories are pretty strong, but the story about copying and pasting in augmented reality would be the most worth sharing in the newsletter; it got the priority of 90%. The story about firefighters got 85%; maybe you can share it next week. And the last one, the story about using Augmented Reality at the home office of Facebook employees, got 75%.

If the results are entirely unexpected, try to adjust the importance of your criteria or change the criteria to match your values.

Final words

After prioritizing your news stories, create the newsletter, describe the story of high priority or link to the original, send it, and keep the number of subscribers growing.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by My name is Yanick.

Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Choose Marketing Tactics for your Service to Achieve Your Goals in Time

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Do you have a product or a service, but you don’t know how to market it effectively? Today I want to show you how you can use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to create the marketing strategy. We are going to evaluate a series of marketing tactics according to our chosen criteria to see on which of the tactics we should focus. To be practical, I will show you an example with the strategic prioritizer itself as a service that I want to promote.

The workflow of the strategic prioritizer is pretty straightforward and consists of four steps:

  1. Defining criteria
  2. Listing out tasks (or other things)
  3. Evaluating tasks by each criterion
  4. Exploring priorities
Workflow

Note, it would be best if you could invite a marketing specialist to guide you through this. 

Ready? Let’s start!

⚙️ Project setup

Add a new project to the organizational account. From the project templates, choose “Marketing Strategies”.

Choose project template

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. Change or keep the project title and description. I will call my project “Marketing Initiatives for 1st things 1st”:

Change project title and description

2. Decide how to name things. The preselected values suggest evaluating Tasks by Criteria. I will leave them this way. Do Initiatives or Tactics sound more reasonable to you than Tasks? Do Values or Aspects seem better than Criteria? You decide.

Change how you name the things

3. Define your mission and vision. This step is not mandatory, but it helps you get into the correct mindset.

The mission of 1st things 1st is “Assist people in defining and following their direction.” 

And the vision is “1000 self-contented people and 100 successful teams in 3 years.”

Set mission and vision of your product

4. Define the timeframe for your project. This step is also not mandatory, but when you have the start and end in mind, you can better choose the tactics for that timeframe.

As you can guess from the vision, the timeframe for 1st things 1st will be from the January 1, 2020 till December 31, 2022. After that, the strategies might need to get revisited.

Define the timeframe

5. Choose up to 5 criteria. Check what resonates with you mostly.

6. Choose some tasks that seem reasonable to you or that you would like to try. You’ll be able to enter some more tasks as free text later too.

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

Now you can edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them is 100%, and the evaluation type is the percentage from 0 to 100% (you will see them in step 3).

For example, this is how I set the criteria for the marketing tactics that I would like to use for 1st things 1st:

  • Develops awareness because people need to learn how to use it.
  • Aims at a target market because it’s not merely for everyone like food, air, water, and wifi.
  • Maintains audience focus because people need to get reminded about best practices if they want to live progressively.
  • Ethical because of GDPR and being fair with the customers.
  • Value for money because marketing tactics need to bring profit to the business.

All of those criteria matter to me, so I set the 100% importance to all of them.

Adjust parameters for criteria

Your criteria and their importance will depend on your attitude and perspectives.

💡 Step 2. Review and edit tasks

In the next step, you will see the list of our chosen tasks where you can change their titles and descriptions.

For example, at the setup, I chose these things:

  • Add compelling design elements, because that’s what attracts my attention when I see that on other websites.
  • Respond to questions on Quora, because that’s a place where intellectual people gather.
  • Design cover images for social profiles, because it’s a proper place to strengthen your brand.
  • Guest write for industry blogs, because that’s a way to reach your target audiences.
  • Interact with consumers via social media, because that’s how you create a dialogue with your users.
  • Develop contests to promote a service or a product, because it would be interesting to try that.
  • Do competitor keyword analysis, because that’s how you can attract more visitors to your site.
  • Develop demonstrations or tutorials, because people need to get informed on how to use the tool.
  • Do networking in person. because word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing techniques.
  • Write tips & how-to articles to share with prospects or customers, because that’s one more way to spread the knowledge about the usage examples of the tool.
  • Research affiliate programs, because that’s one of the ways to get more viral spread.
  • Send newsletters, because this builds the audience and allows us to do A/B testing of your marketing campaigns.
  • Publish videos on Youtube, because videos are the most attractive and viral media type at the moment.
  • Comment on articles and blog posts online, because that gives voice to your brand.
  • Send out product samples, because positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations can attract more customers.
  • Regularly publish blog posts, because people need to know your intentions and progress.
  • Send thank you notes or emails to customers, because they are who keep your business running.
  • Develop keyword lists for SEO, because we want to get higher rankings in the search engines.

Also, I added a couple of new tasks:

  • Regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, because that’s where my target audience spends time.
  • Run ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, because that’s where I can find more people interested in this strategic prioritizer.
Add more tasks

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate tasks by criteria

Now evaluate all tasks by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. Be aware that the number of evaluations will be equal to criteria × tasks.

Let’s say, answering questions on Quora builds awareness at 100%, but doing competitor keyword analysis builds awareness probably at 60%. Doing networking in person is 100% ethical, but commenting on articles and blog posts online with the intention to advertise is maybe 75% ethical. Developing demonstrations and tutorials brings 100% of value for money, but running ad campaigns of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, brings only 40% value for money. Most of those evaluations are based on my previous experiences and gut feeling. But a marketing expert could have more precise evaluations.


📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted tasks grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Analyze your priorities and take action

As the result, my most essential tactics are guest-writing for industry blogs, developing demonstrations or tutorials, writing tips and how-to articles to share with prospects and customers, regularly publishing blog posts, interacting with consumers on social media, publishing videos on Youtube, and sending thank-you notes. So, content, content, and more content. That’s what you can expect from this blog in the upcoming future.

Final words

After prioritizing your marketing tactics, it’s time to print the PDF version of the results, create user personas, the story you want to tell your customers, and start marketing your service or product.

Check out the organizational strategic prioritizer at our 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Austin Chan.