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I break Startups down into their component parts and show you how to build for success.  

eisenhower matrix

According to a survey conducted by Buffer (a tool I use for my own content scheduling and rate pretty highly) in 2022, 53% of startup founders reported feeling overwhelmed by their workload, leading to increased stress levels and a higher likelihood of burnout.

When 62% of new UK businesses will fail before reaching their 5th year of operation, this isn't a surprise to me at all.

Building a business is HARD. Especially when you're trying to do something that goes against the conventional approach and/or you're a part of the wide demographic group that finds it almost impossible to access the validation that comes from achieving VC investment into your growing company.

Burnout is a serious issue. It is not, as is often suggested by entrepreneurial 'influencers' a sign that you're 'hustling' or 'grinding' - that's just pro-capitalist bullshit, quite frankly. Burnout is an easy path to significant health issues. It increases your risk of coronary heart disease, it makes you more susceptible to infections and illnesses and it can even increase your risk of developing neurological issues like Alzheimer's.

Safe to say we want to avoid burnout where possible (and any other 'hustle-culture' crap that tries to tell you you're not good enough if you're not economically-active every waking minute - the Pay As You Go COO approach always welcomes rest. Also snacks.).

A really easy way to get yourself off the path to burnout is to make sure that you're working on the right things. If you're constantly switching gears and changing direction and balancing a million things at once, you're always going to feel overwhelmed. With a good Strategy (which includes a good plan for what you're going to work on and doesn't stop at OKRs), you can prioritise the things that are going to actually get you to your goals and take a break with a clear conscience.

When I'm planning Projects and Tasks for a client, I either take a really basic common-sense approach or use a really simple tool. Let's take a look.

The following section is an excerpt from my ebook How To Write Your Strategy. 

For the rest of my guide on how to write a comprehensive and effective Business Strategy for your startup head to my shop to buy the full book, which includes all the worksheets to help you work through your own Business Strategy.


Introducing the Relative Prioritisation Matrix

When you’re pushing a business towards success, it’s not just about what you do - it's about when you do it. But how do you decide what order to complete your work in? By using a common-sense order or my simple Relative Prioritisation Matrix. 

Which one is right for you will be determined by the nature of your business and you’ll need to employ your industry and product/service expertise to help you make that decision. 

For example, if your work clearly needs to be completed in a specific order, then it’s necessary to work in that order and prioritisation simply becomes a list. For example, if you’re selling a physical product and your Projects are ‘build the product’ and ‘ship the product’, you can’t ship the product before you’ve built it. Thus your prioritisation is simply a common-sense order. Your expertise will tell you if you’re just in need of a common-sense order or if you need to apply my Relative Prioritisation Matrix. 

If you’re selling a product or service that’s less reliant on a specific order of completion, my Relative Prioritisation Matrix will come in handy. ‘Matrix’ here is just another word for a grid - a way of visualising your work based on how much or little it contributes to your overarching goals. My Relative Prioritisation Matrix is a version of what’s popularly known as the ‘Eisenhower Matrix’. 

Named after Dwight D Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America, an Eisenhower Matrix divides work into four categories of priority, allowing you to focus first on the work that’s most important to your Objectives. My Matrix is what I call ‘an iteration of the Eisenhower Matrix’ because I apply slightly different criteria to build the categories. Let’s look at the details. 

To build a Relative Prioritisation Matrix, you need two lines - one vertical and one horizontal. These are your ‘x’ axis (the horizontal) and your ‘y’ axis (the vertical).

eisenhower matrix

In my Relative Prioritisation Matrix, the horizontal ‘x’ axis represents the relative ease with which you can take a Project to completion and the vertical ‘y’ axis represents the relative contribution that the Project will make to your goal. 

eisenhower matrix

Thus, something in the top left of the Matrix would be easy to complete and would make a large contribution to your goal. Conversely, something in the bottom right of the Matrix would be hard to complete and would only make a small contribution to your goal. 

eisenhower matrix

When you’re choosing what to work on, you should choose the things that are making the biggest impact on your goal first - this is what drives progress. When you’re in the earlier stages of your business and you’re facing a lot of work and a lot of challenges, I recommend starting with the things that both make the biggest impact on your goal and are easier to do - you’ll more quickly see the results and this will help motivate you to keep going. 

If you had 10 Projects to consider, that could look something like this:

eisenhower matrix

I call my Matrix the Relative Prioritisation Matrix because the location of each Project on it is determined by how it relates to the other work you need to do.

To plot your own Matrix, you’ll need to consider the outcome of each Project and the impact that that outcome has on your Objective as well as how easy that Project is to complete (or you can substitute ‘easy’ for something like how much it will cost you to deliver the Project or how much time it will take). 

If you're struggling and want some help with your own Relative Prioritisation Matrix, why not book a free Discovery Call to discuss?


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