Loosening the jaws of choice paralysis

I hit a bit of a speed bump the other day.

Now it wasn’t a big “problem” or the lack of options available to me no.

In fact it was that I had too many options to choose from.

You see I was looking at the different options in front of me that I could use to increase the size of Version 22’s community and I was suffering from a little something called choice paralysis.

What do I do first?

What happens if the option I choose to work on next isn’t the best choice?

Shouldn’t I be doing all of these things?

These were just a few of the questions I was asking myself. So I decided to do something about it and take the choice a little more out of my control. I did this by using a methodical process to compare my options against one another to produce a clear, prioritised list of things to implement.

Now I’m positive this method isn’t something I invented, nor something I’ve been the first to use in this way. Nonetheless I thought I’d share the process I followed stage by stage because it did wonders for me; helping to wipe the fog of confusion off the lens I viewed my business through.

So let’s get started.

 

1. Drawing The Matrix

I started by creating a matrix like the one shown below with one axis being the ROI (return on investment) of a given venture and the other being how easy (or hard) such a venture would be easy to implement. I did this on a huge sheet (A1) in felt tip, not worrying too much about being neat and tidy.

diagram 1

 

2. Populating the Matrix

Next I started adding ideas I had for growing Version 22’s online community, starting with just one before using this as a control to compare the following ideas against (the bottom left one was a joke FYI). I was constantly adjusting and moving ideas at this stage so it’s a good idea to have them on individual sticky notes.

(It’s important to note the ROI at this stage may well be a significant unknown so just focus on ranking the ROI’s of each element based on your best guess and how they compare to others in the matrix.)

diagram 2

 

3. The Matrix quadrants

The colours below show the priority that should be given to each quadrant when deciding what to implement first. The top two quadrants, being of high ROI, should obviously be seriously considered. I’ve coloured them both green as in theory these could be given equal priority if your marketing budget, work force and network allows it. I’ll leave it for you to decide.

Following these ideas in the top half are those in the bottom right that perhaps might not yield as high a return but are nonetheless easy to implement and “try” so are worth doing anyway to see if some return is achieved.

Ideas in the bottom left are both low in ROI and hard to implement so should really be ignored until all other options have been implemented and exhausted. My guess is that this quadrant will only really be relevant for older, more well established businesses who already have a very extensive marketing portfolio.

diagram 3

 

4. How to prioritise

Following the dotted arrow shown in the diagram below, order your list of tasks/ ideas in priority, starting with the first to implement being the top right items, before moving across to top left, then bottom right then bottom left.

diagram 4

 

 

And there you have it! Now instead of a mind numbingly large number of options you have a clear, prioritised plan of action. Try this method for yourself and let me know how you get on in the comments below.

 

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