It doesn’t matter if you run a part-time business out of your home or operate a brick-and-mortar resale shop. As a small business owner, you will be faced with large and small decisions on a daily basis. And each choice you make will affect something, whether it’s your bottom line, your reputation or your ability to stay afloat.
If you want to completely blow all those big decisions, here’s what you do:
Ignore the Alternatives
If you want to throw your entrepreneurial hopes and dreams down the drain, you can start by ignoring your options. Smart business owners will brainstorm all the alternative solutions they can think of before they select a course of action. They’ll also ask other experienced business owners to help them analyze different scenarios and predict what might happen as a result.
Pretend You Have Unlimited Resources
Entrepreneurs are often big dreamers with limited resources. And that can be a problem if you make a business decision that requires greater resources than you have at your disposal. If you’re not realistic about the limitations facing you, your choices will negatively impact your business.
Rely Solely on Expert Opinion
The small business guru who’s selling all those books might have some great tips and motivational advice. But that doesn’t mean he knows or understands the nuances of running your small business. Taking his general advice and applying it to your specific circumstances could be detrimental. So listen to the experts, but carefully consider how your unique circumstances might alter the outcome.
Always Go for the Cheapest Option
When it comes to a fix, it’s tempting to choose the option that will cost you the least amount of money or time, and that’s definitely not the best way to make a decision that will impact the success of your small business. If you know that the more expensive option is the best option, you may have to make some sacrifices in other areas of your budget. In case you haven’t learned this yet: the quick fix usually needs fixing again.
Rush the Decision
Most decisions do have expiration dates, but that doesn’t excuse you from doing your homework. When faced with a problem or a choice, it’s always important to do as much research as possible. Play out all the best- and worst-case scenarios, and select the choice that offers the best potential outcome with the least possible risk.
If you don’t want to blow your next decision, here are some questions you should ask yourself before you take action:
- What are my long-term goals, and how will this choice affect them?
- What are all of the options available to me?
- How long do I have until not deciding becomes a decision all its own?
- Who could help me analyze the situation and predict possible outcomes?
- What resources do I have available to me after the decision is made?
Bonus points if you can anticipate what decisions you’ll have to make before you’re faced with them. So, what decisions do you anticipate you will need to make in the coming year?
Image credit: raja4u
Your headline caught my eye, Emily!
This is a great post – your points hit the mark. “Rely solely on expert opinion” made me pause and consider my own habits. I’m typically reading 1 or 2 books on creating a better business, etc. at a time, and I agree: trying to apply all the general advice is impossible. I still read relevant books and articles by authors and entrepreneurs I respect and trust, but I understand the limits.
On the flip side of the coin, I believe you can make a good business decision by working with business mentors and counselors who will go into the weeds of understanding your unique needs, plans, and challenges. My partner and I work with two advisors from SCORE (a retired finance exec and a business lawyer). There is no charge for one-on-one sessions and many cities have chapters (SCORE is a national org approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration). Their advice and guidance has been invaluable.
Thanks again for your post, Emily. Have a great weekend!