Top 10 Entrepreneurship Skills, Part 2: Prioritization skill
Have you ever wondered what entrepreneurship skills do successful startup CEOs have to achieve their goals? Meeting after meeting, closing deals, running projects, and many stakeholder and people to manage!
In This article, I will literally walk you through the steps and strategies that a successful CEOs put in place everyday to prioritize their tasks. Following their foot step helps you achieve your dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
I suggest you to download this worksheet before you dive deeper to the topic and complete the activities when you see the elephant icon. I call this moment “Let’s feed the elephant“, it means its practice time.
Essential Entrepreneurship skills
Prioritize your goals like an experienced CEO
When you ask successful entrepreneurs to describe the main entrepreneurship skills that differentiate them from other entrepreneurs, they are all of the opinion that having the following entrepreneurship skills is essential.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Having a Sociable character
Passion to take Initiatives
Sense of Accountability
Inevitably, to become a successful entrepreneur you need more than the above mentioned entrepreneurship skills. Obviously, you should have the common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs such as leadership, forward looking, absolute determination, self confidence, creativity, passion for learning, being goal oriented and organized, etc.
All of the above mentioned entrepreneurship skills are characteristics that entrepreneurs develop in interaction with people surrounding them. While these entrepreneurship skills are essential to the success of entrepreneur there is one more entrepreneurship skills that should be taken very seriously: Time management & Prioritization skill.
Before I show you the step by step approach to prioritize your goals, tasks, and ideas like an experienced CEO,let’s take a few moments and go through the main reason why entrepreneurs fail.
Have you seen those people who spend lots of time looking at a painting or even paint a masterpiece but rather than being amazed by it’s details, a painstaking labor of devotion and love, and the harmony of colors, they choose to spot the small shade of color at the corner of picture?
Well, entrepreneurs with this attitude and characteristic are doomed to fail.
Because they have a dangerous attitude that can lead successful entrepreneurs to definite failure: That’s “Perfectionism”
In case, you think being a perfectionism can help you develop a higher quality product or provide better service to your customers, you should read this article about how to define your startup’s quality.
It’s a psychological trap because in reality you won’t be able to satisfy your self and you want to keep perfecting your product.
What am I talking about?
In spite of your sense of perfection, you subconsciously won’t use a consistent and proper measurement and monitoring mechanism to gauge your progress simply because every time the result is out or your product is developed your mind will not be satisfied with the result and want to keep it better. This is a common issue among Idea generators and product evangelist entrepreneurs.
Many startups (Including one of my own in 2011) have failed because the entrepreneur is satisfied withnothing but an absolutely perfect solution.
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you should accept the truth that “There is no perfect product or solution”.
There is, literally, no measurement mechanism that can tell you whether your product is perfect or not. Perfection is an illusion that burns you.
What entrepreneurship skill can save you from this trap?
Once you are done with this article you can move to Lean startup and Business Model Canvas. you’ll find your answers there, but for now You need to learn how to prioritize your goals like an experienced CEO.
Here is the step by step approach:
Step #1 Use your window of Einstein
Although, successful entrepreneurs might have dozens of ideas, they pay attention to get things done on at a time and of course ON-TIME.
Windows of Einstein is a concept by Dr. Dewett and simply refers to the best time of the day that You have your best mental and physical performance well. To figure out your widows of Einstein you can ask yourself: am I a morning person or evening person?
once you find out what time of the day is your windows of Einstein, you should allocate minimum 3 hours during that time and focus on your alpha bucket tasks.
What’s an Alpha bucket task?
Experienced executives and successful startup CEOs spend their time and money only on important things that add value to their business, and indeed they tend to keep things simple, and organized. here is the step by step approach on how to successfully prioritize your startup goals.
Step #1: Divide all of your business ideas, goals and tasks into 3 main bucket:
Step #2: break the tasks into achievable and measurable sub tasks.
Step #3: Pay attention to them during your windows of Einstein and clear them off your list ASAP.
Here is the details of each steps:
In Step one, you should break down your tasks into smaller, but achievable and measurable tasks, Using SMART technique is a very good way to do that. I’m not going to the details of SMART goal achievement technique as University of Virginia has a good resource about it .
Alpha bucket should contain the tasks that helps you get closer to your ultimate goal.
Example #1: If you want to launch a product on specific date, the product development, testing, prototype, etc. should be in your alpha bucket.
Example #2: If you are about to close the deal, then preparation for meeting, background search about client, preparing your killer elevator pitch, demo of your product/service and such activities would be in the Alpha bucket.
Remember, less than 40% of all daily tasks can be in Alpha bucket.
Urgent tasks require attention, immediately.
Example #3: It could be a client that is waiting for proposal and you will lose him if you don’t send the proposal before lunch. Or maybe an investor who has decided to meet you in a short notice.
As a successful entrepreneur you should keep an open eye on these two buckets otherwise, you would have to take care of alpha and urgent tasks together. That can lead to chaos in a course of time.
“The Heat-map Technique” Productive Planning skills for Successful Entrepreneurs.
The Heat-map technique is a set techniques and free tools that helps entrepreneurs understand the impact of your tasks on your startup goals.
It also allows you to easily differentiate your important, urgent, and other priorities and prevent task slipping.
Use the worksheet you have downloaded (if you haven’t downloaded it, you can get it from here) and follow the steps below to complete the Heat map practice.
Step#1 regardless of priority of your tasks, list down all of them from any category.
Step#2 Give your tasks a proper weight from 1 to 4, where weight score of 1 carries the lowest possible impact on your goals and weight of 4 being the highest impact.
Step#3 Use the worksheet below and sort them from low to high and list them under the column“Tasks, Goals, Milestones”
Step #4 Now you need to rank your milestones, goals or tasks based on their priority by categorizing them into 4 categories:
“A” would have the lowest priority and “D” has the utmost priority.