How Do You Prioritize Initiatives When Resources Are Limited?

How Do You Prioritize Initiatives When Resources Are Limited?

In the face of limited resources, executive leaders are often tasked with making pivotal decisions that can shape the future of their organizations. We've gathered insights from CEOs and COOs, who share their strategies from balancing growth and efficiency to employing the Eisenhower Matrix for resource allocation. Here are the seven valuable perspectives on prioritizing initiatives during challenging times.

  • Balance Growth and Efficiency Investments
  • Focus on Impact and Outsource Non-Essentials
  • Prioritize Vision and Sustainability
  • Inspire Team Buy-In for Initiatives
  • Leverage Technology for Industry Challenges
  • Employ Triage System for Initiative Prioritization
  • Utilize Eisenhower Matrix for Resource Allocation

Balance Growth and Efficiency Investments

Running a small, fast-growing company, we're constantly navigating decisions about where to allocate our limited financial and human capital. We strive for as close to an optimal balance between initiatives that drive growth and initiatives that increase efficiency as possible. For us, 'optimal' means investing enough in growth activities to see meaningful increases in revenue, but also allows us to sufficiently invest in the systems or processes needed to support that growth and immediately set more ambitious growth targets afterwards. If you don't do that effectively, you either 1) waste investment on systems that at best are under-utilized or at worst are completely superfluous, or 2) achieve your growth goals but then spend the next several months struggling to deliver the level of service you need in order to sustain that growth. For instance, when we felt we were doing a good job generating leads but not a great job converting them to paid clients, we invested in a marketing initiative to improve our lead capture. But, we also made sure to allocate time and capital to building up a more sophisticated array of automations so that a successful expansion in lead capture wouldn't stress our sales operation beyond what it could handle. That said, we haven't always gotten it right! A while back, we tried to expand into a new service category and—afraid of not being able to manage a hypothetical influx of clients—over-invested in people and processes to support an influx of new business without investing enough in the marketing and outreach to generate that new business. We survived it, but not without a lot of wasted time and other resources.

Josh Druhan
Josh DruhanCOO, Franklin Yard

Focus on Impact and Outsource Non-Essentials

It's important to prioritize initiatives that have the greatest impact and highest ROI on the business. Every day, I use a time box to prioritize my tasks, emphasizing focus on core competencies and outsourcing non-essential tasks. I often say, "Do what you do best and outsource the rest." However, when resources are limited, it can be all hands on deck at times, and prioritizing the brand and user experience are always top priorities.

Joshua Maine
Joshua MaineCEO, Pickleball Advisor

Prioritize Vision and Sustainability

When resources are tight, prioritizing initiatives becomes about focusing on what moves us closer to our vision while ensuring sustainability. In short: taking calculated risks while not hindering innovation and forward-looking initiatives.

We've all been living in challenging economic times in the last few years—a significant market downturn facing many technology businesses. Personally, I've experienced directly where we had to scale back and choose between innovation and maintaining core services, including in R&D and client-facing roles. We prioritized projects with the clearest path to ROI, balanced against risk and expected business cases, which prioritized the potential to increase revenue, and always tried to balance with other initiatives or business cases that presented a decrease in cost. We avoided 'time-saving' initiatives as we had lean times. It taught us the value of adaptability and the importance of a resilient core operation.

Jessica Zwaan
Jessica ZwaanChief Operating Officer and author of Built for People, Talentful

Inspire Team Buy-In for Initiatives

First, I gather the people. I start by casting a vision to the team and seeing who buys in. Many times, we can outwork a small budget. Once I feel the energy, I decide how to proceed. If the desire isn't there, I place it on the parking lot or determine if it's important enough to me to go at it alone. But many times, with clarity and vision, the team rallies around, and we find a way to make it happen.

Kerri RobertsCEO, Salt & Light Advisors

Leverage Technology for Industry Challenges

At, we've observed a common trend among B2B lead-generation partners in the industry: they often fail to provide tangible proof along with the leads they deliver. Furthermore, they typically lack mechanisms to capture prospect interactions with those leads, leaving clients in the dark about crucial engagement data. However, we hold a firm belief that our clients not only require genuine leads but also deserve comprehensive proof and insights into prospect interactions with their syndicated content. (You can refer to this

From the outset, I recognized that fulfilling this need was impossible without leveraging technology. Thus, we embarked on the journey of building our proprietary tech infrastructure. This decision was pivotal, as it enabled us to address these industry-wide shortcomings effectively. Today, our innovative technology empowers us to deliver tangible proof and capture prospect interactions, setting us apart in the market.

Through our technology, we've achieved remarkable results. For instance, we're successfully delivering 35,000 leads every month solely through our email marketing channel, with just a handful of in-house email marketing experts. Additionally, we've established strategic partnerships with other B2B lead-generation agencies, allowing them to leverage our technology to deliver telemarketing leads effectively.

One of the key features of our technology is its ability to automatically identify genuine leads, streamlining the lead verification process for our clients. This capability ensures that our clients receive high-quality leads that align with their objectives.

In essence, our journey at has been defined by our unwavering commitment to leveraging technology to address industry challenges and deliver exceptional results for our clients.

Akash Sethi
Akash SethiCo-Founder & Chief Executive Officer,

Employ Triage System for Initiative Prioritization

My approach to the prioritization of initiatives has always been based on a triage system, which allocates the proper resources to the elements in need first. The initiative should always match the mission, vision, and values of the business, and that includes reviewing its contribution to the financial metrics the initiative aims to support. One tactic that can be effective when an initiative involves the category in which a company operates is to look for natural allies to share the work and amplify the advocacy. I'd rather not think of COVID times, but resources were scattered and severely limited in some regards during that period, making any initiative difficult to manage.

Bill Chioffi
Bill ChioffiCOO, Nammex

Utilize Eisenhower Matrix for Resource Allocation

When resources are limited, we use the Eisenhower Matrix. This helps classify the initiatives into four buckets. It helps to filter out the initiatives and their priorities. Once the filters are applied, timelines are assigned to each initiative, and work delegation is done. Challenges arise in case the dependent activities get delayed and create a ripple effect. Having an agile approach in such cases helps to quickly navigate and activate parallel activities to cut down on the overall time required for such activities.

Pankaj PatilChief Operating Officer, Agrotarc Private Limited

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