Sequencing strategies, or determining the most appropriate order for prioritizing and tackling critical path business steps, are essential for a small business to maintain a budget and achieve financial success. Sequencing strategies can be applied in project prioritization, budgeting, hiring, resource allocation and in developing marketing and business planning strategies.

Budget-Based Strategies

Many small businesses must defer to their budgets when making determinations about company sequencing strategies. Following this methodology, decisions about everything from hiring to renting space, purchasing inventory or raw materials or developing an advertising campaign are predicated on the available budget. For example, using a budget sequencing strategy for a task such as marketing, a small business might first examine low- or no-cost marketing methods as a number one priority, moving on to more expensive options as the business progresses and begins to become self-sustaining.

Staffing-Based Strategies

Sequencing strategies are often used in the hiring process of a small business. For example, a restaurant may prioritize hiring cooks and waitstaff over positions such as hostess and bartender with the idea that competent servers can pull double duty until the restaurant is operational and can afford to hire specialized positions. Similarly, a small office may opt to hire an office manager to handle everything from reception to filing, note-taking, meeting organization and customer service as the first step in its hiring process. Following a staffing-based hiring sequence strategy, as budgets permit, additional positions may be hired down the line.

Revenue Generation-Based Strategies

Sequencing strategies may be based, at least in part, on revenue generation. For example, a small boutique may opt to carry three different clothing lines at its inception, adding accessories, shoes and cosmetics once revenue is flowing and additional product lines can be purchased. The business determines the sequence of new products to be added based on factors such as demand, traffic and repeat business and available financing.

Best Practices in Sequential Planning

Detailed business and marketing planning can help a small organization develop appropriate sequencing strategies that work for their particular type of business. Building sequencing strategies into these strategic business roadmaps can better prepare a business owner for identifying the next logical steps in the business growth and development processes. Sequencing strategies can also assist a business with staying on financial track and help it prioritize spending, investments, human resources management and short- and long-term advertising approaches.