What a time to have a business. COVID-19 has presented a completely unique set of challenges that businesses everywhere have had to pivot in response to, and a lot of them don’t have the resources they usually would to help them out.
So, what’s needed is practical advice that can be actioned quickly and realistically in your business. To help you make those decisions, we’ve collected together some quick and easy DIY tools. These problem solving devices can help you reach decisions about the direction of your business with confidence.
Without further ado, let’s crack open our toolbox and dive into some handy business problem-solvers.
1. The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is a time management strategy that helps you decide how to prioritise tasks. A typical to-do list is fine, but you may stare at it wondering what needs to be ticked off first. The Eisenhower Matrix focuses on urgency and importance, allowing you to figure out what the most pressing things on your to-do list are.
Image credit: Eisenhower
It involves dividing your tasks into four quadrants – Do First, Schedule, Delegate, and Don’t Do. The ‘Do First’ column is home to your most important tasks that need to be done today or tomorrow at the latest. This could be finishing and uploading a blog post, getting a website live or reviewing something important for your boss.
The second quadrant is ‘Schedule’. This is for tasks that are still important but less urgent. Perhaps you have an important task coming up but you don’t have to worry about it for two weeks. Sometimes when we have a task that’s not going to require our attention for a while, we forget its urgency. Placing a task like this in the Schedule quadrant allows you to be aware of what’s coming and plan in advance.
The third quadrant is for any tasks you can ‘Delegate’ to other people. These tasks might be less important than the rest but still fairly urgent. Remember to check in on tasks you’ve delegated to others – delegating a task to someone else doesn’t diminish its urgency!
Of course, your actual tasks aren’t going to end up in the fourth ‘Don’t Do’ section. This quadrant is mainly for any time-wasters like searching the web or checking social media too much.
Time to complete: 20 minutes
2. Project in the palm of your hand
It’s time to take a trip down memory lane, to simpler times where child-you would find joy in tracing the outline of your own hand.
If you want to – literally – take matters into your own hands, use the ‘Project in the palm of your hand’ method, coined by Gather. This involves tracing around your hand, then assigning sticky notes to each finger with questions attached. This method is a good way to visualise your business’s pain-points, strengths, goals and what needs to be done.
These questions are:
What are weak spots you need to keep an eye on?
What and who is supporting your project
Measure of success
What does success look like for your business?
What outcomes are you aiming for?
Rule of thumb (It’s pretty obvious where this one goes)
What type of Pivot are you doing?
Never heard of Pivot? Don’t worry, I’m about to explain.
Time to complete: 10 minutes
3. Pivot Blueprint
So, what do we mean by Pivot? Pivot is how businesses can adapt to the changes caused by COVID-19. It can be super hard to navigate this on your own. Ross Geller jokes aside, we thought you may need a little help with pivoting. We’ve created several Pivot-based resources to help you navigate these business changes.
The Pivot Blueprint is a document we’ve created that helps you quickly apply this strategy to your business, with a focus on using what you have to progress quickly.
Once you’ve filled out the Pivot Blueprint, you should be able to:
- Respond to the business challenges brought on by COVID-19 quickly and pragmatically
- Utilise your existing resources and identify where you need support
- Identify any pitfalls and rabbit holes to avoid
- Acknowledge and mitigate risks and assumptions
- Set realistic, achievable business goals
You can download the Pivot Blueprint for free here.
Time to complete: 30 – 60 minutes
4. The DACI framework
DACI is a framework from the Atlassian Team Playbook that focuses on bringing structure to group decision-making. This is a super-efficient way of managing your team if you’ve been struggling to get your staff to think as a unit. DACI allows you to assign roles to the right people in order to get the right decision made.
DACI stands for:
D – Driver
The driving force of a project, this person is responsible for corralling stakeholders, collating the necessary information and getting a decision made by the deadline. The Driver can also be the project’s full-time owner.
A – Approver
The Approver is who makes the decision.
C – Contributors
The Contributors have knowledge or expertise that could influence the decision, but they don’t have a final say.
I – Informed
This is everyone else who is informed of the decision.
Time to complete: 30 minutes
5. 6-3-5 Brainwriting
One of our personal favourites here at Matchstick Creative, Brainwriting is a great group-brainstorming tool to use when you’re stuck for ideas.
6-3-5 Brainwriting involves each person (Ideally six participants) writing three ideas down on a piece of paper within five minutes. There are six rounds of this, with each person’s paper being passed to the person to their right each time. Ideally, you will end up with 108 ideas developed in 30 minutes. This is a fantastic way to overcome any kind of creative slump, whether you need content ideas for social media or a new business plan of attack.
Time to complete: 30 minutes
Your business isn’t dying, it’s DIY-ing
These quick tools are sure to sort out a chunk of your business problems. If you’re still struggling, we can help you pivot your business to where it needs to be. Head to our Pivot page to learn more about our Problem-Solving Workshop and Pivot Marketing Package.
If you’re keen to carry on flexing your creative muscles, you might be interested in learning how to create a two-week mini-campaign.