Making Decisions

Running a small business is hard, very hard. It seems that oftentimes one success brings twenty new obstacles and decisions. Mostly these are the challenges that come with growth and improvement, but sometimes they are hard things that can make or break a business. These moments define a business even in the most subtle ways. It can be hard to emotionally get through these decisions because they often affect more than just the owner.

When Things Go Really Right

Every small business is built upon the idea of growth and financial success. Entrepreneurs and their teams dream of unlimited success. The thing is when things go right really quickly decisions must be made in rapid succession. Oftentimes this paralyzes small business owners because each decision has the possibility to have a long lasting effect on the business. For example, deciding to invest a large percentage of profits into the business without any reason to believe the the profits are sustainable.

When things seem to be going surprisingly well, business owners need to take a step back analyze the entire situation. Most decisions don’t need to be made in a now or never fashion. Let them sit and be part of a larger plan for the business.

When Things Go Very Wrong

Decisions made when things are going poorly are just as important as decisions made when things are going well. When financial goals aren’t met or technology goes awry or any other multitude of things it is important to not react too quickly. Fight or flight kicks in and business owners naturally want to make decisions that seem right in the moment.

The need to survive the hard times can lead to bad decisions. Things are down for a quarter so you layoff an employee or two. Then the next quarter things are so busy that you are working everyone too hard and people are upset. These are all things that can have long term effects when they start in a down period.

Making Decisions in Highs and Lows

  1. Put together a list of things that describe decisions that need to be made.
  2. Prioritize decisions and make an outline of what markers need to be met before those decisions are made.
  3. Make the decisions only when those markers are met.

Knowing when to make decisions for practical reasons rather than emotional ones is a highly important skill in management. By slowing down the decision making process and moving in a thoughtful and analytical way, you reduce the chances of making a decision you will regret later. Working with a consultant or an outside party who can walk you through the process is a great way to get an impartial look at the business and important decisions that must be made.

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