Making smart business decisions: the how, why and what

Businesswoman making decision. Decision time for new education period.

We are all decision makers, we make them every day – what to wear, what to eat for lunch, whether to watch the latest series on Netflix or to catch the bus or the train. But, when it comes to making decisions in business, it can mean the difference between embracing a new opportunity or missing one. To grow a prosperous business, there is a fine line between being overly cautious and frivolous in our decision making. No one wants to be frozen by indecision so how do you make smarter decisions especially ones that do not come back and bite you later on.

Smarter decisions are made by being really clear on who you are, what you want and where you are going in business. Knowing what direction the business is taking starts with setting goals and creating a strategy. You cannot steer the good ship business in the right direction without knowing where you are going and what you want to achieve. When an opportunity is presented to you, having this information means you can make a smart decision based on knowledge and not be distracted by bright shiny object syndrome.

Four ways to make decisions

1.Pros and cons Working out the advantages and disadvantages of your decision can give clarity. Look at what is being presented from all sides; be brutal, go to the brink of the worst case scenario and the absolute best thing that can happen. Writing down the pros and cons makes it real; you can see the impact in front of you and make sure you do not miss anything.

2.Learn from your mistakes The beauty of making mistakes, especially if you have done it spectacularly in the past, means you can learn from the failure and make better decisions next time. The same applies from learning from other people’s failures; you learn what you don’t and do want. Richard Branson said, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

3.Trust your gut How you make decisions can be more important than the actual decision. It has nothing to do with KNOWING what is right or wrong for you but more to do with the actual DOING. We can get caught up in the process and not listen to the most important tool we have…our gut instinct. Do you get a little prickly feeling when something isn’t quite right? Does your body pucker up with goose bumps when you are on a good thing?  Learn to listen to your gut because quite often the first reaction you have is the one you should pay heed to.

4.Ask for help There is nothing wrong with bouncing your thoughts off a trusted colleague or friend. Making decisions can get us all in a tangle as we work through the different scenarios and outcomes, so much so it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength.

No regrets

Sometimes, you just have to embrace uncertainty. There are no guarantees in life especially in business. If you spend time developing a plan, paying attention to how you feel and being as objective as possible, you can come out the other side of the decision making process feeling confident and comfortable. By taking ownership of the decision making process and the outcomes, you take responsibility for the path you are on. .

Hayley Birtles-Eades, founder, beinc