Overwhelmed with digital tasks in your business?

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Recently I've been mentoring some local entrepeneurs with their digital endeavours via the Hertfordshire Growth Hub's Volunteer Business Support Scheme. It's been interesting to hear all the different stories, but despite the different challenges that many of these companies have been facing, there is one particular scenario that I find is very common...

There is so much noise!

If you are a small business owner, then it is so easy to get swamped with information about websites, social media, video, email marketing... The list seems almost endless, and there is no shortage of experts claiming that "every business must have XYZ" to make many feel left behind.

The truth is that you don't need to be on every social network. You might not even need to have a website in some cases! There are a selection of tools out there, and you only need concern yourself with the ones that work for your business, and your business alone.

Gauge effort vs reward

I always advise people who feel this way need to take a step back and write a list of everything they think they need to do. Then we need to assess the effort required to complete each item, and the potential reward.

Imagine you are running a local yoga studio; a good example of a low effort/high reward task would be to offer a referral scheme to your existing customers. Word of mouth is by far the most effective method of marketing, and the effort to set something up (perhaps with a single email template) is relatively low.

Now contrast this with building landing pages and setting up PPC campaigns. The reward here could potentially be greater, but it is uncertain. Also, the work involved in getting those landing pages right is going to take a lot more effort. Communicating with new prospects versus existing customers makes it hard more challenging to establish trust, so the design and implementation must be absolutely on point.

Collaborate on your to-do list

Whilst this simple methodology can help clear your mind, it remains important to get impartial advice on this subject.

I'd highly recommend drafting a digital marketing to-do list by yourself (or amongst your team), detail your own perception on the effort vs reward ratio, and then review it with a business advisor. They can help question each item and should have a better idea of what has/hasn't worked with other businesses they have been involved with.

Discussing your workload on a regular basis with team members and advisors can really help ensure you continue prioritising effectively.

Focus on one thing at a time

Once the to-do list is done, I always think it is best to focus on one task at a time. Whilst many people brag about their multi-tasking prowess on social media, I have always found it can be a major cause of stress.

Focus on a single task gives you greater clarity. Whilst multi-tasking can make you feel more productive, it doesn't really increase the amount of time you have at your disposal. In my opinion, it's an illusion.

Culling tasks can clear your mind

Some of those high effort/uncertain reward tasks may sit at the bottom of your to-do list for some time. If your needs are being fulfilled by other channels, be honest with yourself, is it ever going to get done? If not, just drop it from the list. Perhaps think about it again in 6-12 month's time, but don't allow something like this to clutter your to-do list and add to the weight that you carry as a business owner.

Once you have thought about something carefully and decided it isn't worth looking at, you should then find any noise on that subject will just pass you by like a cool breeze. When you see the latest article about Facebook ads in your LinkedIn feed you'll subconsciously block it out, instead of thinking "Oh I keep forgetting to look at that..." and making yourself feel guilty and bogged down.

The goal is to get to a place where you can find the key set of tools that work for your business, maintain them, and then carefully review new items before investing large amounts of your valuable time.

Find what works for you, stick to the winning formula, forget the noise and... breathe. 😊

Image Credit: Pegge Anke on Pexels