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How a Pro and Con List Will Boost Your Business Sometimes it's tough to keep on top of all the 'what if's' when it comes to your business. A pro and con list can help with that.

By Paula Rizzo Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At the core entrepreneurs are dreamers, whether it's big picture stuff or smaller day-to-day improvements.

  • What if we opened another office in an international city?
  • What if we hired a few more employees full time?
  • What if we told the staff to stop sending emails on Fridays and actually talk to their clients on the phone? (gasp!)

Sometimes it's tough to keep on top of all the "what if's" when it comes to your business. These great ideas to boost your company to the next level often get stifled. That's because we keep ideas on the back burner, completely forget about them or become frozen with insecurities and stop ourselves before we even give them a try.

But there's a solution. Enter the pro and con list.

Yes, it can be as simple as folding a piece of paper in half and writing "pro" on one side and "con" on the other. This list is a great catch all for all those crazy ideas that you have that might be amazing but sometimes you don't give them enough credit.

Here's how to use this list to give your company a push:

Be prepared.

Next time you get an idea that frightens you, stops you in your tracks or excites you -- consider writing out a pro and con list for it.

Related: The 3 Lists Every Entrepreneur Must Make

Anything goes

Write out every possible good outcome and put it in the pro column. This should include every big and small detail. So if one of the good things about a potential business partner is that she is funny -- you can write that down. No detail is too trivial at this point.

Do the same with the con column and make sure to try and be as realistic as possible. Pretend you're a journalist -- just stating the facts at this point. Don't make any judgments. Sometimes this is hard to do but try your hardest to be objective.

Related: 3 Destructive Distractions That Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid

Take a break

Put your list away and sleep on it. This can be for a night or for a few months depending on the urgency.

Weigh your options

Now it's time to evaluate your list. Just because you have five items in the pro column and only three on the cons side doesn't mean that the pros win. Think about each option with a critical eye and picture what your business would be like if you had to deal with each one. Do some research, ask some questions, get someone else's input. What might seem like a big deal to someone else might not make a difference to you and visa versa. So be realistic and true to yourself as you evaluate your list.

You should keep these lists in the same place at all times so you know where to find them. So this could be in a notebook or in a folder on your computer. Working out ideas on paper first is a great way to either bring them to fruition or let them go for good.

Make it a point to go back every once and a while to check out your pro and con lists. You never know what brilliant idea is in there that might just be the nudge you need.

Related: The Must-Use Checklist for Getting Stuff Done Before the Holidays

Paula Rizzo

Producer and Founder of ListProducer.com

Paula Rizzo is an Emmy Award-winning television producer and founder of the productivity site ListProducer.com. She's excited about her upcoming book, Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed. 

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