Can’t keep up? Three simple questions to streamline your decision-making

Success requires streamlined decision-making.


A client came to me with a marketing problem: She had two completely separate mailing lists aimed at different target markets, and she couldn’t decide which of the two should be the focus of her future marketing efforts.

A number of questions popped into my head, so I asked two simple ones I felt were most important: Are both markets equally profitable? Do you enjoy working with both equally?

Her answers came immediately: One market brought in very little money, and it was the one she least enjoyed working with. These responses led to my last question: So you would consider continuing to work with this group…why?

It was my shortest consulting session ever.

As an entrepreneur, you face dozens of decisions, both large and small, every single day. Here are three sanity-saving questions to streamline the process when another decision demands your attention.

1. “What do I expect this activity to accomplish for me?”

All too often entrepreneurs try a program/activity/product because it “sounds interesting”. That’s great if you have unlimited time and money, but not so great if those resources are as scarce for you as they are for most people.

If you can’t clearly identify which business goal will be closer to completion as a result of you doing a particular activity, your decision to do or not to do should be “NOT.”

2. “Why is that accomplishment important to me?”

Not every goal is (or can be) of equal importance to you. As a wise colleague once commented, “If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” (Ouch!)

If you’re passionately committed to a particular goal, actions that bring you closer to that goal are both high priority and high payoff. Go for them.

Focus and clarity improve your decisions.

On the other hand, if a particular goal is one you feel you “should” strive for, or it’s one you might describe as “nice”, that’s not nearly juicy enough to deserve your time and energy. Actions supporting that goal will accomplish nothing significant other than taking resources away from what really counts for you.

3. “Am I the best person to implement this action?”

As an entrepreneur, I’m guessing you find it challenging to let other people work on your baby (AKA your business). However, if you’re truly committed to bringing up baby the right way, you’ll acknowledge that there are some things only you can or should do, and there are other things that you should absolutely not spend your time doing.

Knowing which category an activity falls into will go a long way toward getting creating the outcomes you want in the most effective, successful way possible.


These three questions are simple…deceptively so. Your ability to answer implicitly assumes you know your big “why”, know what actions will produce outcomes that address your “why”, and are brave and focused enough to identify the right person to execute those actions.

If, as you work through these questions, you realize they’re much trickier than they look, I can probably help.

My specialty is showing overwhelmed entrepreneurs how to cut through the extraneous crap so they can focus on what’s truly important, both in terms of broad goals and specific action steps.

As I said, I can probably help you; the question is, Should I?

Just as not every prospect is right for me, I’m not right for every prospect.

But we can find out if we’d be a good fit by investing 30 minutes or so getting acquainted by phone. It’s easy to set that up: Just grab a spot in my calendar for this no-charge, no-risk call. We’ll both find out if the right thing to do is wish each other well and say good-bye, or jump in with all four feet to start kicking some major business butt.

Whatever your decision about the call is – do or don’t – decide now. At worst, you’ll get it off your chest. At best, you’ll get started down the road to greater productivity, clarity, and peace of mind.

(BTW, thanks to Graham Collins for posting the image of the severely streamlined Concorde in the Creative Commons Section of Flickr.)

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