Decisions, Part 2

If you missed part one in Dave’s series on decision making, you can read it here. – Naomi

We’re continuing our series on decision making for all of you trying to figure out what to focus on for your next six months of the year.

As we said yesterday, choosing what to do NEXT is not the easiest decision to make when everything seems equally important. So today we’re going to give you the first question you can ask to start making one choice seem a little more desirable than the others.

Now, in the full class, we’re going to walk you through an exercise to help you sort and organize those 100 things so you can start with a more manageable number, like 10 or so.

So for the moment let’s imagine you had that handful of potential things you could be focusing on, so we can start looking at the upsides and downsides of each one and finally make a call.

Question #1 – How big an impact will this actually make?

The answer to this question has a lot to do with your particular short-term goals at the moment.

If your goal is to get money coming in as soon as possible, then you’re going to be looking at impact on sales. If your goal is to get the embarrassing parts of your website cleaned up so you can close that loop and get some peace of mind, that’s a different kind of goal. If you’re just looking to cross some things off a list so you can feel like you’ve got momentum on your side, that’s yet another goal.

Your goals are your goals. They don’t always have to be about short-term money, but ultimately you’re in business to get your venture to a certain income level, so even getting some peace of mind can help you along that path.

But whatever objective you’re after, you should look at the thing you’re considering putting your time into and ask how much it will actually move the needle towards “done” on your real goals.

This helps you from geting caught up in all kinds of emotional investment about what you “should” be doing now and lets you make a more rational decision on what will actually leave you feeling happy at the end.

We see a lot of students in a scenario like this: They want to get their short-term cashflow up and they’re stuck in a swamp of indecision. A typical email says something like:

“My list only has 500 people on it and I haven’t finished my product yet. I need to get my list growing through SEO and social media and redo my website so it looks more professional and do a teleseminar with someone to raise my visibility and get a really good list incentive up and do guest blogging to get more traffic to my site so I can make more money.”

(pause for breath)

“And I don’t know how I’m going to make it happen fast enough!”

Here’s how you can use the “impact” question in a situation like this:

If the goal is short-term sales, then this question puts a lot of these things on the back burner.

  • Getting significant SEO and social media traction in 60-90 days is usually a tall order if cash flow is the goal.
  • Doing a teleseminar may or may not have a lot of potential for money, though it might give you exposure. Which may or may not transform into sales in the short term.
  • Redoing the website might increase short-term sales, but generally that’s only going to happen IF you have sizeable traffic coming in AND your improvements lead people to things you’re actively selling now.
  • Same with your list incentive.

In this scenario, the biggest impact for getting money in the door would probably be finishing the product and selling it to the 500 people currently on the list. Everything else is likely to have a much smaller impact.

Does that mean you should choose the project with the biggest impact?

Not necessarily. There may be other factors that actually make the highest-impact choice your least ideal option.

We’ll discuss those in the next few posts in this series.

In the meantime, this question can at least help you figure out the relative “worth” of all of your different ideas, directions and projects so you have something to work with.

It’s kind of like buying cars. You may be looking at five cars and you don’t know enough about each one to know which one to choose, but at least getting their gas mileage ratings gives you something realistic you can use as you’re considering things.

So think about the impact any potential idea has for your goals. You’ll often find that something you just HAVE to do will have a lower impact than you believed it would, and something uninspiring you’ve been putting off actually has ten times the impact potential.

But you don’t know until you know. Start knowing. The decisions will come easier.

Now go read part 3 of this series.

All my best,

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