photo of Annie Newton, COO at 4 Seasons Color

Leadership: Annie Newton on Setting Priorities and Staying Focused

Too much to do, not enough time? Annie Newton, COO at 4 Seasons Color in Walla Walla, Washington, shares some of her secrets for setting priorities and staying focused.

Define what you want

Hiring a business coach can help you set priorities, Newton says. It also provides extra accountability that will help improve your day-to-day business operations.

“We have the privilege to work with an amazing business coach,” she says. “He often says: ‘Remember what you want.’ Discipline is remembering what you want.”

This reminder can be a big help for any business owner and manager with a busy schedule.

“It’s not uncommon for me to go home with 40 texts still to view, and a huge load of emails and voicemails,” Newton says. That makes it easy to get sidetracked and “forget what is it we really want.”

Having clear priorities means her “not now” list is considerably longer than her “now” list.

Knowledge is empowering

Knowing what you do well – and what you need help with – is another crucial component of successful business ownership.

“I think it’s important for us to be self-aware,” Newton says. She finds value, for example, in doing a SWOT analysis.

“What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What are your opportunities? And what are the threats – on an individual level and then as an organization?”

Once you know your threats and your weaknesses, Newton says, you can develop a plan to move forward. Importantly, don’t try to do everything all by yourself.

“There’s so many resources out there,” she says. “I think sometimes we get bogged down and we think it’s all on us to solve. There’s amazing people out there. It’s asking, maybe being humble enough to say, ‘Hey, I think I might need help, I got in over my head on this one.’”

You can watch more videos in our Pro On the Go series on the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.