As an entrepreneur you work without the constraints that face most people in their work roles.  This is actually a double edged sword, because without that structure it’s easy to waste your time.

Because of this, one of your recurring challenges is simply knowing what to pay attention to.

The core entrepreneurial skill that addresses this challenge is being able to organize at the right level.  

Organizing at the right level is taking a variety of goals, obstacles, and data points and shifting your perspective again and again to determine what few priorities deserve your attention.

To 50,000 Feet and Back Again

We’re in the process of building marketing channels for a new service.

One of my friends recently told me, “Dude, you’ve got to start cold calling.  For your price points, just get a list and start dialing.  I bet you could get a customer this afternoon.”

I don’t know if my friend is right or not.  But I haven’t made any cold calls yet.

The reason why is because I evaluated cold calling among the other options for getting customers.

I stepped back from our challenges and took a 50,000 foot view.

I asked myself, “Based on what I know, where do we have the highest probability of early traction?”

The answer was not in us looking for customers, but in customers looking for us.  

For our kind of service, there are customers looking for service providers in Google search.

From there, I dropped down a level to 40,000 feet and then asked what the best strategies for showing up were?

Adwords is the top with SEO and directory listings following up.  

Most of my quarter goals involve dropping down to 1,000 feet with a variety of efforts to maximize these three aspects of search and how customers get help.

When Your Plate is Full & Spinning What Do You Work On?

I’m consulting for another entrepreneur who is a lot like me.

He’s got a bunch of different initiatives on his plate and is trying to move all of them forward.  

In our last conversation he told me, “I just need some help figuring out how to organize all this stuff in my mind.”

Everything on his plate is important.  And they’re all endeavors he’s committed to.

We went to 50,000 feet from a temporal perspective and looked at the next 6 months.  Then I asked him a series of questions about critical paths.  

What were the projects, where if they weren’t completed, would cause objectives he was targeting to fail?

Then we dropped down another level and asked, for these projects, what tasks had to be completed and what was nice to have?

It turns out that there are just two things he needs to finish over the next couple of weeks to keep on target.

Fluidity of Perspective

As entrepreneurs we constantly have new ideas.  We encounter new tactics and fresh advice.  And we’re constantly learning from our efforts.

Being able to organize at the right level isn’t about shutting out all this information and dogmatically pursuing a path.  

Rather, it’s about being able to shift our thinking higher and lower to identify what matters in achieving our goals.

Your choices are only as good as your options.   

Being able to organize at the right level will ensure that you’re making decisions from your best set of options rather than choosing from what’s at hand.

Post Image of Odin with Huginn and Muginn By user:Ranveig – Own work, Public Domain,