Toward the end of 2012, I sat down with a friend/client to figure out my biggest business opportunities and priorities for 2013 and he led me through a process that absolutely blew my mind.
With just a few questions and a spreadsheet (which I’ll give you below), it’s like the priorities were yanked right out of me in a way I just wasn’t seeing before.
In less than an hour I had crystal clarity on what I should be focusing on for the entire year.
Suddenly I could see exactly where and HOW to focus my time to triple my income, build my list and grow my authority.?? It was like my year (and my business) suddenly made total sense to me.
If you’re anything like me – with a million ideas and opportunities flying through your head at any moment – this was nothing short of miraculous….
And the most amazing part of it was that my friend’s business decision making model used a simple Excel spreadsheet!
I’ve never put “spreadsheets” and “inspiration” in the same sentence before and it feels a little funny, but he’s designed a template that kind of acts like a weegee board – you ask a question and it guides you to the answer.
But instead of relying on some dispossessed ghost with a death wish, it uses YOU — your core values and what you want to achieve in your business — as a way to filter and rank the opportunities you have in front of you.
I promise you haven’t seen this process before unless you’re some super systems guru (aka geek) like my buddy Mynders Glover. Mynders manages product launches for the big boys and you’d fall over if you ever see one of his mindmaps… talk about organized!
He’s essentially designed a spreadsheet template that takes the guesswork out of defining your priorities and making decisions so you have more to go on than the feelings of the moment.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Click here to download Mynder’s “Opportunity Filter” business decision making model and the sample template I filled out to determine my top business priorities.
Step 2: Choose 5-7 evaluation criteria that you’d like to use to gauge your business opportunities.
These can include core values, profitability, impact, and goals for the year or quarter. Place them at the top of each column of the blank template where it says “Evaluation Criteria #1” etc.
If you look at my sample template, you’ll see that the criteria I use are:
- Life/Work Balance and Personal Freedom
- Internal: Personal Satisfaction (business as an expression of who I am and what I care about)
- External: Making a big impact on my following and positioning my brand
- ?Build My List
- Develop Partnerships and Future Opportunities
Step 3: Identify 5 or more opportunities in your business that you want to prioritize.
These can include both processes and initiatives. Processes include things like getting your business systems up and running or implementing a social media marketing plan. Initiatives include big projects such as events or product launches. Place these opportunity into the rows labeled “Opportunity #1” etc.
Step 4: Now for the fun part! It’s time to rank each opportunity by each evaluation criteria.
On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being utter fulfillment and 1 being steer clear), how much does that opportunity allow you to fulfill that criteria?
For example, here’s how my 6 opportunities ranked for the criteria “Life/Work Balance and Personal Freedom” and why:
- Put business systems in place (a perfect 10) – The right systems will give me more freedom and allow me to expand my team.
- Relaunch Message to Money course to bigger audience (just a 5) – While this is an important project to me, it takes a significant amount of time to launch and requires me to be available at specific times for group coaching calls (none of which is particularly good for work/life balance).
- Hold the Video Superhereos Summit (a healthy 7) – The Summit will create a lot of partnerships, a strong list and passive revenue that will allow me to make an impact and bring in money without burning myself out.
- Create Mid-Tier Done-for-You Web Package (a strong 8) – This new lower-priced package will allow me to delegate much of the done-for-you work to my team rather than doing it all myself.
- Live Events (a low 4) – This is exciting to me but, because I haven’t done a live event before, I know the first one will take a lot of work to handle the logistics and fill the room.
- Lead Generation (a middle 6) – While lead generation activities such as guest blogging, press and social media are critical to the success of any business, they also take a lot of time and effort.
Step 5: Once you’ve ranked each opportunity, it’s time to add up the numbers in the total assessment column and see which ones comes out the highest…
This is the part of the process that totally blew me away! According to my own values and priorities, the Video Superhero Summit turned out to be the biggest opportunity in my business and it was something that was at the bottom of my list!
Once I realized this, I quickly swung into gear to get this new venture off the ground and have already gotten “yeses” from some big names!
Step 6 (optional): In life, not all things are created equally. If some criteria are much more important to you than others, than feel free to weight each criteria.
Weighting allows you to fine-tune the evaluation process to reflect what’s most important to you (and give a little help to your pet projects). I recommend giving each criteria weighting a percentage of the whole so they add up to 100%.
NOTE: With the weighting, my top 2 priorities stayed the same, while the remaining 4 shifted.
That’s it for today. In Part 3 of this New Year’s series, I’ll show you how to wrap a marketing and promotion calendar around your top opportunities and priorities…
In the meantime, help me show some appreciation to Mynders by leaving a comment below letting him know how amazing his template is!
Love it? Hate it? Let me know...
Marisa, I love that you share actionable tools and tips with your tribe. I have to say that your blog posts are worthy of reading because they provide value every time. Thanks for sharing and helping me to make sense of the ciaos in decision making for my business.
You did a great job of sharing the template and how to use it, Marisa. I’ve found that so many people implement the wrong things in their business because they didn’t have a process for seeing and ‘feeling’ what is most important to them.
This process is a left brain methodology for what is normally a right brain process. 🙂
I took a product design class last year (Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society) where we were designing artifacts to solve a problem and we did a lot of spreadsheet evaluations before beginning the actual design process. Usually I just pick a goal/solution and dive into tackling it, so this was a really different approach for me and I was delighted at what a difference it made.
My instincts for which option was “best” tended to be pretty good, but taking the time to evaluate each option helped me see details of a second-best choice that I could incorporate into the best choice and make it even better.
Thank you for this spreadsheet, Marisa! I can see how taking the time to sort through goals is really smart, and might just inspire me with even better ways to tackle my top goals.
Marisa, thank you so much for sharing how you filled out Mynders’s great form. Mynders is brilliant and I follow him and his advice very closely. I just love that you shared examples of how to work with this strategy and not just talked about the concept. This is the perfect way to get into high focus and to stop jumping from idea to idea and opportunity to opportunity. Get clear, focus and commit to action. WooHoo!! Thank you again!!