I have been pondering this idea of putting first things first for some time now.
Or maybe I should say that this aspect of putting first things first has been slamming into me like a wake-up call for some time now :).
Whether it is business in general, your website or your personal life...the more in-tune, educated and experienced you become with any part of your life, putting first things first becomes more and more obvious.
I think it is a common trait for small business owners to move forward with an idea regardless of the planning and preparation that is sometimes needed. I think this is a strength in many ways. Yet I think there still needs to be some balance as well.
Here is an example:
Lets say you're going to build or have someone build a website for you. Where do you start? I think most people (including myself) try to get something up fairly quickly and then focus on trying to get as much traffic to the site as possible. That seems normal right?
Let me be very clear in saying this: ***You are potentially wasting your time (and money)***
Let me support my last comment with a numbered list descending to the first thing you should do:
(by the way, all of the following can be accomplished on your own, for free just by Googleing for the information and then applying it to your business, except for maybe the website design)
9. How can you become more successful in your small business (by having an online presence and utilizing internet marketing tactics) if you have no website traffic?
8. How can you have website traffic if you don't do utilize SEO (search engine optimization) and social media marketing?
7. How could you effectively utilize SEO and social media marketing if you don't have a branded website?
6. How could you have a branded website if you don't have a brand?
5. How could you have a brand if you don't know who your niche/target market/ideal client is?
4. How could you figure out who your niche/target market/ideal client if you haven't written a business plan or engaged in some other form of research?
3. How could you complete a business plan if you haven't established values, goals and principles to operate by (in business and personal life)?
2. How could you establish goals, values, etc. if you have not written a "life" and "business" mission statement?
1. How could you write a mission statement if you haven't put first things first? 🙂
The simple answer is that you "can not". In order to achieve anything ***effectively*** listed above you need to do the the thing that comes before it.
Too many times small business owners put the chicken before the egg and pay for it with their time and money. Really think about it. If you purchase a "quick" website for $500 and find out later that it is not working for you...you have lost $500 because you will have to redo it in the future.
The same thing applies to every aspect of your online ventures. You will eventually realize that the "quick" and cheap solution is not doing anything for you and then you will have to do it all over again. You would save money in fact if you just invested properly from the beginning, whether it be with your time or your money.
If you invest into your small business properly from the beginning and put first things first, you will reap the benefits of whatever you have invested 100 times over.
The good thing is that you can always go back and do the thing that maybe you overlooked or missed. You will know what they are.
Take the time, do the work. Or pay the right people to do it for you 😉