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Business Decision Making Entrepreneurship Progress

10 Ways to Use Smart Prioritization for Your Business

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Some decisions in business can be made based on intuition and emotion. Still, the more risk we have to manage or the bigger our ambition, the more critical it is to make decisions intelligently. When we have to solve a big problem, one of the rational ways is to divide it into small parts and deal with each of them separately. When we have a mattering list of things to prioritize, it’s beneficial to look at it from different perspectives, evaluate it by several criteria while respecting common knowledge and your values, and then combine the results into calculated conclusive priorities.

“1st things 1st” is an innovative online tool to do that easily without struggle nor paralysis by analysis. In this article, you will grasp how you can use it to advance your business. With “1st things 1st,” you evaluate anything by multiple criteria and get your priorities calculated, sorted, and grouped into those “to choose for sure,” those “to consider,” and those “to skip, eliminate, or outsource.” Let’s look at 10 examples, how you can benefit from this tool in your business.

1. Weekly Planning

Weekly Planning

When you consider prioritizing, you usually think about weekly or daily tasks. Spending 20-30 minutes every Sunday to plan what needs to be done for the next week is an advisable habit to have.

Using “1st things 1st”, before anything else, you would define your task criteria, like:

  • How urgent is it?
  • How important is it?
  • Is it unavoidable?
  • How manageable is it to accomplish?
  • How impactful is it?
  • Is it ethically, socially, ecologically responsible?
  • Does it make money or reduce costs?
  • Does it make your clients happy?
  • Does it bring new customers?
  • Does it remove bottlenecks in your business processes?
  • Does it motivate you?
  • Does it support your company’s goals?
  • etc.

Then you would enter your TODO list and evaluate your tasks by your defined criteria.

The online tool would calculate and sort your tasks by your priorities.

If you are using the Premium account, you can also enter time estimations and budget for each task and see how many tasks you can afford to get done that week.

2. Setting Quantitative Goals

Setting Quantitative Goals

But as you know, doing work without having goals is like traveling without a map: it might quickly use up all your resources, and nothing much will be achieved on the way. Businesses should have goals, and these can also be prioritized. It’s recommended to have SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-phased.

To prioritize goals with “1st things 1st”, you would define your goal criteria, like:

  • How specific is it?
  • How measurable is it?
  • How attainable is it?
  • How realistic is it?
  • How time-phased is it?
  • How ethical is it?
  • How environmentally sound is it?
  • How relevant is it for your business?
  • How challenging is it?
  • Is it legal?
  • and so on…

Then you would enter your list of goal candidates and evaluate them.

Your goals will get sorted by your priorities. It is recommended to use no more than 3–7 goals to pursue.

If you are using the Premium account, you can also enter time estimations and budget for each goal and see how many goals you can afford to achieve in a period.

3. Choosing Strategic Outcome-oriented Goals

Choosing Strategic Outcome-oriented Goals

Your business can focus on one of many strategic business goals. For example, you could aim to get more profit, provide the most value, have the happiest clients, increase recycling, improve a particular skill, or maybe make your workplace the best place to work at. The list could go on. But how could you prioritize it?

You would start prioritizing with “1st things 1st” by defining questions about each of your goals, like these:

  • How much does it support your mission and vision?
  • How much does it support your core values?
  • How much does it optimize your strengths?
  • How much does it compensate for or eliminate your weaknesses?
  • How much does it help you plan ahead for deadlines?
  • How much does it help you allocate job roles?
  • How much does it help you stay on track for your project goals?
  • How much does it maximize efficiency?
  • How much does it help you allocate resources?
  • How much measurable is it?
  • and others…

Then you would list your goal candidates, for example:

  • Ensure financial sustainability
  • Maintain profitability
  • Grow sales from new products
  • Provide the best value for the cost
  • Provide reliable products or services
  • Increase revenue
  • Have the most innovative products or services
  • Differentiate the product
  • Reduce waste by a certain amount
  • Reduce energy usage per unit of production
  • Increase recycling
  • Improve reporting and transparency
  • etc.

After evaluating strategic goals by your criteria, you would see them sorted by how much they match the requirements. And it would be crystal clear what to aim for.

4. Choosing a Brand Name

Choosing a Brand Name

When you introduce a new product to the market, it’s crucial to choose its name well. How you name a brand has a lot of influence on how people perceive it and buy it.

Using “1st things 1st,” you would begin prioritizing your options for brand names by setting success criteria, for example,

  • How short is it?
  • How simple is it?
  • How much does it suggest a category of products?
  • How unique is it ?
  • How alliterative is it (does it rhyme)?
  • How speakable is it?
  • How shocking is it ?
  • How personalized is it?
  • How easy is it to spell?
  • Do all shareholders like it?
  • How well does it sound together with a company name?
  • Doesn’t it have any negative associations?
  • Does it have a nice meaning?
  • Is it ethnically appropriate?
  • and so on…

Then you would list your brand name candidates and evaluate them by these criteria.

The prioritizer would calculate and show you the priorities sorted out. Then it’s straightforward to pick the best one.

Moreover, similarly, you could choose a name for your company.

5. Choosing Marketing Strategies

Choosing Marketing Strategies

When you have a product, one of the puzzles is to decide how to best market it. There could be many marketing tactics and strategies, like updating a website, regularly posting on certain social media accounts, recruiting guest bloggers, creating contests, doing A/B testing of specific widgets, advertising on certain platforms, using affiliate programs, developing introductory videos, writing cold emails, etc. To choose your most optimal marketing strategy, you have to prioritize.

With “1st things 1st”, in the beginning, you would define success criteria for your marketing strategies, something like:

  • How likely does it aim at your target market?
  • How likely does it support your niche?
  • How much does it develop brand awareness?
  • How much does it build credibility?
  • How much does it maintain focus?
  • How accessible is it for the customers?
  • How measurable is it?
  • How much can it be analyzed?
  • How ethical is it?
  • How innovative is it?
  • How much value does it provide for its cost?
  • How skillful are you to use this strategy?
  • and others…

Then you would list the options for marketing strategies, for example:

  • Do A/B testing.
  • Refine ad targeting.
  • Personalize website content.
  • Create more engaging ad copy.
  • Add compelling design elements.
  • Improve website speed.
  • Develop editorial content for content sharing.
  • Regularly post on the Facebook page.
  • Regularly post on the LinkedIn feed.
  • and so on…

After evaluating individual options by each criterion, you would have an overview of which strategies to choose, which to consider, and which to skip.

6. Choosing Innovative Technologies

Choosing Innovative Technologies

Would you agree that to keep up with innovations and keep your customers engaged, you need to upgrade your products and services from time to time? Blockchain, Internet of Things, drones, 5G connection, and other novelties never sleep. So which of the new technologies should be integrated into your business?

With “1st things 1st,” you can figure that out by asking these questions at the beginning:

  • How relatable is it to our business?
  • How high impact would it make for our business?
  • How cost-effective is it?

Then you would list the innovative technologies, like:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet of Things
  • Blockchain
  • 3D Printing
  • Mobile Apps
  • Autonomous Cars
  • Robotics
  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Wireless Power
  • Quantum Computing
  • 5G Connection
  • Smart Assistants
  • Cybersecurity
  • Mobile Internet
  • Drones
  • Chatbots
  • Personalized offerings
  • Home delivery
  • E-commerce

After answering those questions for each technology, you would clearly see what’s worth pursuing.

7. Choosing a Software Solution

Choosing a Software Solution

When you have to evaluate and choose one of several software products of the same category for your company, “1st things 1st” can help you with that too.

In the beginning, you would list out success criteria for the winning software solution. These criteria could work:

  • Usability
  • Reliability
  • Security
  • Manageability
  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Scalability
  • Maintainability
  • Supportability
  • Reusability
  • Testability
  • Integrity
  • The size of the user community
  • etc.

Then you would list out your 2 or more software solutions that you want to compare and choose from.

After evaluating each option by each criterion, you would immediately see which of the systems to choose.

8. Choosing Productivity Tools

Choosing Productivity Tools

Or, let’s say, you need to choose a productivity tool to improve your and your team’s productivity and get everything better organized. You could prioritize productivity tools by matching the benefits and features as well.

With “1st things 1st”, at first you would define your criteria, maybe something from this list:

  • Does it get me organized?
  • Does it improve habits?
  • Does it increase focus?
  • Does it save time?
  • Does it save money?
  • Is it easy to start?
  • Is it easy to learn?
  • Is it worth the price?
  • Is it effective?
  • Is it highly recommended?
  • Does it have all the necessary features?
  • Is it available on mobile devices?
  • Is it available on desktop computers?
  • Does it integrate with other tools I use?
  • Is it accessible?
  • Is it collaborative?
  • Is the user interface intuitive?
  • Is there an offline mode?
  • Can it be synced across devices?
  • Is it affordable?
  • Is it fast?
  • Is it mature?
  • Do you like it?
  • Does it offer technical support?
  • Is it made by a reputable company?

You get the idea.

Then you would list out the productivity tools:

  • 1st things 1st
  • Asana
  • Basecamp
  • Doodle
  • Eisenhower Matrix
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Docs
  • Google Workspace
  • Grammarly
  • IFTTT
  • Microsoft 365
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Monday.com
  • Notion
  • Pen and paper
  • Slack
  • Slite
  • Trello
  • Zapier
  • and so on…

After evaluating each of your options from each perspective, you would have a clear view of what to start using in your daily workflows.

9. Choosing an Office Location

Choosing an Office Location

One of the essential material choices to make is choosing an office space to rent. Here you can also look at your choices from different perspectives and let “1st things 1st” help you decide.

At first, you would define your criteria for your best office location. These could be some examples:

  • Can our clients get there without a hassle?
  • Can our employees get there easily?
  • Can we afford to pay a three-month rent deposit on this office right now?
  • Are all the costs transparent?
  • Is the office space furnished?
  • Is the office space not overpriced?
  • Will there be at least 6.5 m² of floor space per person?
  • Is there enough room to grow the team?
  • Is there a dedicated space for meeting with clients?
  • Will our employees be happy with their social and recreation areas?
  • Is there 24/7 access?
  • Does it have a kitchen?
  • Does it have a shower?
  • Is the space pet-friendly?
  • Is the WIFI available?
  • Are cleaning services available?
  • and so on…

Then you would list the addresses of office spaces to rent that are interesting to you.

After evaluating each office by each criterion, you would clearly see which of the locations most suit to your company.

10. Choosing a Coworking Space

Choosing a Coworking Space

Similarly, if you work remotely, in a small team, or alone, you might like to choose a coworking space to rent. Without a doubt, you can use “1st things 1st” to prioritize these options too.

These could be some of the features that you would expect from an ideal coworking space:

  • Are there enough desks for the number of people you need?
  • Is the internet available?
  • Is a phone available?
  • Are mailboxes available?
  • Are there meeting rooms?
  • Is there a reception?
  • Are there phone booths?
  • Is there a quiet place for meditation?
  • Is there a bike rack?
  • Are there showers available?
  • Is the space accessible for a wheelchair?
  • Is the kitchen available?
  • Are there cleaning services?
  • Is there enough light?
  • Is there a coffee machine?
  • Are there fridges for your own food?
  • Are drinks or snacks available?

The questions could go on…

Then you would list the addresses of coworking spaces to rent that are interesting to you.

After evaluating your options by each of those questions, you would clearly see what to choose.

Final Thoughts

Whether you prioritize immaterial things like tasks, goals, or strategies, or material things like office spaces, tools, or technologies, you can use “1st things 1st” to make business decisions intelligently by looking at your options from different perspectives. Let your essential choices not be driven just by emotion and spontaneity but instead by common knowledge, your values, and your rationality. Let your decisions be smart. And with “1st things 1st,” you can do that quite easily.


Photos by Daria ShevtsovaThirdmanNORTHFOLKTima MiroshnichenkoAnna ShvetsAnnie SprattRon McClennyKevin KuBermix StudioAnna Nekrashevich.

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.