Making Good Decisions for Your Home-Based Business
If you operate a home-based business, you probably make dozens of decisions every day. Many of you will strongly disagree with this statement, but that is likely because you are only thinking about major decisions. Choosing which candidate to hire, evaluating whether you have the capacity to accept an extremely large order, selecting a new supplier, or deciding on the type of company vehicle to purchase are all examples of major decisions that you may face occasionally. However, you make many choices every day that you do not even recognize as decisions. Perhaps certain decisions have become so routine that you do not give them a second thought. Maybe you follow your gut feeling when faced with a decision. Either way, you are allowing your subconscious to make your choices instead of using a logical decision-making process. Surprisingly, it is frequently not just the big decisions that can sabotage your business. Rather, it is the accumulated results of the plethora of small choices that can hurt you. Whether you are dealing with run-of-the-mill or critical choices, here are some tips to help you navigate your decision-making process.
Never Let Your Ego Make Your Decisions
The best entrepreneurs have strong egos, or they would not have had the courage to launch a business. However, a healthy ego is a realistic one. Face it, you do not know everything about everything. Never be afraid to request input from others who know more about a topic than you do, and be sure to at least consider what they tell you.
Avoid Quick Fixes That Fail to Address the Underlying Issue
Think about your decision before you make a commitment. Consider why you are faced with making a decision, and determine whether you really need to make a choice. For example, before you make a knee-jerk decision to go with a new, untested supplier to secure a temporarily lower price, evaluate the possibility of negotiating a better price with the current supplier who has always provided you with excellent service. Before you fire an employee for making a mistake, consider whether the mistake was the employee received sufficient training to avoid committing the error.
Always Use the Best Data Available
You cannot use outdated information, irrelevant data, or information from sources that lack credibility. In addition, you must ensure that you are interpreting the data correctly. If you do not understand all the details, seek more information from reliable sources. However, do not allow yourself to become paralyzed by indecision. Know when you have collected enough good information to make a well-informed decision, then proceed.
Control Your Emotions
Decisions based on fear, personal bias, anger, frustration, embarrassment, or anxiety seldom work out as you would like. Although you do not want to delay decisions indefinitely, if your day has been a particularly bad one, postpone every decision you possibly can until you have had a good night’s sleep. If you must make a decision immediately, recognize that you may not be thinking clearly. Take a few minutes to calm down; go for a short walk, spend a few minutes meditating, or just take several deep breaths. Never choose an option simply to try to save face by covering up a prior mistake, and never make a decision out of fear that your temporary inaction could make matters worse.
Pay More Attention to the Forest Than the Trees
Make sure that you are seeing the big picture clearly. Do not get so caught up in details that you lose sight of your objectives. Take another look at your company’s mission statement if you need to be reminded of your goals, values, purpose, and culture. This puts you in a better position to ensure that your decision reflects your overall vision for your company.
Give Details Their Proper Weight
As much as you need to keep the big picture in mind, you cannot neglect to consider the details. What are the costs associated with your decision? How will it be implemented? What is the downside to implementing your decision? How will you rebound if your decision proves to be incorrect? Is it an all-or-nothing decision, or is there some room to implement it piecemeal?
Separate Your Wants From Your Needs
When making decisions, it is important to focus more on what your business needs than on what you want. For example, you may want to serve as your own registered agent, but your business may need you to name someone else so that you will have the freedom to make in-person visits to your clients. You may want to micromanage every detail, but your business may need you to delegate more tasks to your employees so that you have time to focus on new opportunities.
Commit to Your Decision
Once you have come to a realistic, workable solution, move forward. Although you may find that you must make adjustments along the way, you should not spend too much time second-guessing your decision. At the same time, you should not don your rose-colored glasses or bury your head in the sand to avoid the realities of your decisions. Not every decision you make will be brilliant, but not every decision you make will be disastrous. Whether you make a mistake, find an incredibly creative solution, or choose the best option among several bad ones, learn from your experience.