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In a company setting, what are the advantages of drawbacks of prioritizing tasks by revenue?

In the article Entrepeneur - Five Simple Ways to Boost Productivity, I read:

Delegate tasks that don't generate revenue.

Bookkeeping, payroll and copywriting are three tasks entrepreneurs often try to handle themselves to save money. But they often aren't qualified or equipped to handle these tasks and end up losing valuable time that could be spent on revenue-generating activities, as Hopkins learned. "They end up doing what I call lower-value tasks that others could be doing for them," says Audrey Thomas, a Minneapolis-based productivity coach. Business owners should realize, Thomas says, that outsourcing these activities allows them to devote more time to making money.

The clear advantage, is that you of course generate more direct revenue. However, prioritizing in terms of revenue also leaves a lot of low revenue and non revenue tasks waiting at the bottom. I believe this can't be good; so, what are the drawbacks of prioritizing tasks by the amount of revenue gained?

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3 Answers 3

It is more deciding what you should do and what you should get others to do.

You should set a value on your time based on what you generate of income.

Take an example (very round numbers to make math easy):

  • You work 10 hours per day
  • Your change rate is 100 USD per hour
  • There is 1 hour of admin tasks that must be done per day.

Alt 1 - You do the admin task, 9 hours charged, 900 USD earned

Alt 2 - You pay someone 50 USD to do the admin task, 10 hours charged, 950 USD earned

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I think you're confusing prioritization (which tasks to do in what order within the company) with outsourcing. What the article is implying is that there are tasks for which the person (or company) may be ill suited to do at all and those tasks should be outsourced (delegated) to another specialist company. So instead of using up company resource (person, desk, computer...) to do things like bookkeeping which doesn't generate revenue, you outsource that to a CPA firm and inside the company you concentrate and stay focused on doing whatever it is your company does to make money.

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That article isn't proposing nobody work on those tasks or they get left for last or they get deprioritized completely. It is proposing someone else does them. This makes sense. This is why you have a reception/admin. To focus the business leaders (and others) on harder problems or things that only they can work on.

On an overall level, I don't think it works if there isn't someone to delegate to. You can get into audit/compliance/no growth issues by focusing on immediate revenue.

And for the person being delegated to, the low/non revenue tasks are a priority because that is his/her job.

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+1 @Jeanne: Oh right, I don't use the word delegate frequently. Thank you for also listing the other case... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 15 '11 at 23:45

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