It’s in the nature of most entrepreneurs to be creative and imaginative, to seize on new ideas and possibilities and bring them to reality. However, it’s also possible to have so many ideas and projects going at one time that none of them get to reach optimum momentum.
Here’s a checklist of things to consider before jumping into your next project, and suggestions on how to address them.
1. Do you have the time?
It’s one thing to dream of new possibilities, and how to make the world a better place; however, if you have a hard time saying “no”, you may find your “new baby” has taken over your life, to the detriment of your other goals and commitments.
Recently, I’ve been approached by a publishing company to write a book; this would mean great exposure for me and my business. However, this could take away from my primary consulting practice and another endeavor that’s currently in the early stages. What’s the answer?
Solution: In order to make time for your new project, take the time to look at your existing projects and responsibilities – is there anything you can delegate or outsource? If there are responsibilities you normally handle that has grown enough to justify hiring a professional to take on, this is the perfect time to do so. Because you’ve got a new project on hand, you’ll feel less “guilty” about turning over your old responsibilities to someone else. I’ve recently begun to bring new professionals into my practice, to turn over some of the day-to-day activities so that I can focus on these new projects.
2. How does this align with your strategic goals?
Does your new project build on what you’re already doing? In a perfect world, every task or project we take on is a natural progression of everything we’ve done, and fits in perfectly. However, if you find that your new endeavor isn’t doing aiding you in the goals you’ve set for yourself in all other areas, it might be time to re-evaluate.
Solution: Look closely at all the benefits of your new endeavor.
- You’ll acquire new skills that will improve your value to your other projects or responsibilities
- You’ll develop a new network of contacts that’ll enable the growth of your primary business or organization
- You’ll gain personal satisfaction that will improve your attitude towards both your business and personal relationships
If you can list one or more of these as benefits of your new project, it’s very likely time to take it on. One of my clients is embarking on a new project, which will incorporate all these benefits; needless to say, I’m backing her all the way!
3. Does this fulfill a personal need?
You may find that you’re ready to “give back”, due to your own circumstances or experiences. Quite often, these lead us to become a “voice” for an under-served or unaddressed cause that we feel compelled to support. However, your passion for your new cause may blind you to everything else you’ve already gotten underway, much to the detriment of all.
Solution: Organize! You know what your best skill is, more than anyone else. Find others of like mind to share the responsibilities and obligations that come with any new project, bringing their skills and abilities together to join your own. This will allow you to have the same feeling of personal fulfillment, without neglecting your other responsibilities and relationships.
Starting a new project can be exciting, but be sure that it aligns with your overall goals, and that it doesn't become a bright shiny object distraction (which is very common for entrepreneurs). By asking yourself these simple questions, you can ensure that you have the time and bandwidth and that it makes sense for your overall business strategy.
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Carole Bennett is the founder and primary voice of IndigoTea. As a professional IT consultant, Carole has provided solutions for companies as diverse as Verizon, Frito-Lay, Capital One Auto Finance, and Zales Jewelers, parlaying a unique talent for acting as a translator between the worlds of business challenges and technology solutions. After nearly two decades of experience in providing business and technology solutions in the corporate space, Carole chose to dedicate her wealth of experience towards creating outstanding results for her small business clientele. She considers her skills gained from simultaneously managing a fire performance troupe, raising a family, and working as a full-time IT consultant excellent preparation for her current career incarnation as the driving force behind IndigoTea Small Business Solutions. “Fire-breathing redhead on a mission” is not just a metaphorical description!