To run a business is to be a decision maker. Whatever niche your business is in, whatever need it fulfils, your primary skill is in making decisions that return the most money for the least investment of resources – whether that’s in the long or short term.
Let’s take a look at the art of decision making to make sure you that you’re guiding your brand towards success not just tomorrow but for months and years to come.
Make sure you’re using every resource you have to gather data to base your decisions on. From working with market research companies to assess the impact of your products and advertising with brand tracking programmes, to collating statistics on call length and outcome in your customer service department, to keeping track of the results your sales team is pulling in, every piece of data is vital.
They tell you whether your efforts are paying off in strengthening your brand, whether your customers are getting the experience you want them to when they call you, whether your sales teams are effective in bringing in new clients.
Making decisions without taking into account quantifiable facts, and not being proactive in quantifying as much as possible, is working off a gut instinct not a thought process you can rely on.
Find someone with business acumen you trust to run your ideas by. Being a CEO and ultimately sole decision-maker can be isolating. If you’ve not hired a diverse team of executives you might well find your own opinions being parroted back at you when you discuss them in house, so you need to find a peer you can talk to honestly, not someone who’s trying to impress you or scared to tell you ‘no’.
Talk through major decisions with this person before you commit, and listen openly to criticism and suggestions: it’s possible to get too close to a project and lose your ability to make objective decisions. Fight against this by bringing in a dispassionate outsider.
By naming your enemy, you can avoid it. If you know what failure looks like for each decision and plan you make, you recognise it as it looms and take steps to prevent that disaster.
For example, if you’re developing a new project, you’ll have used your market research to predict how much you much expect to earn from it. In turn you can use this earning projection to work out what a profit threatening overspend would look like and step back from the brink if it becomes clear you’re pouring in more resources than you can earn back.