Five steps to help you make better business decisions

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By Rafferty Gifford

As a business owner, you’ll be faced with many choices and tough decisions as you take your company from start-up to success; do you focus on growth or profitability this quarter? Do you hire this candidate? Is that the right investment?

Decision-making will always remain at the core of your role as a leader – it’s unavoidable. – but there are ways that you can ease the pressure and make the process easier. Here are five suggestions on how you can streamline your approach towards making better business decisions:

  1. Gather All the Information

A lack of information is often where the decision-making process falls flat. All businesses, regardless of size, need to conduct research to develop and grow. Companies often rely on various different methods to obtain information from all sorts of audiences.

For example, understanding how your competition is performing will determine how you can gain a competitive advantage, while creating feedback surveys can help identify your customers’ overall satisfaction and highlight any areas needing improvement. Business owners could also talk to their employees to determine their understanding of certain operations. Without gathering information, how can you be certain of what your business’ next steps will be?

  1. Take Your Time

External information isn’t the only important resource to decision making but allowing yourself enough thought time plays a huge part in it too. Making rash decision is undoubtable a habit to avoid. Although it may seem like a quick resolution – getting the job done quickly, and allowing you to focus on other areas – this can lead to repercussions later on.  With most decisions, you nearly always have more time than you think, despite with others might be telling you. Be sure to buy yourself some time over important decisions. 

  1. Manage Your Options

It’s likely that the more options you have to consider, the harder it will be to make a final decision. So it’s important to do what you can to control the number of variables you have, and to spend time thinking on only the most viable routes you and your business could take.

Let’s say you were looking into hiring a new employee and started taking applications. Naturally, you wouldn’t interview everyone who applies – there’s bound to be some who don’t have the right experience or qualifications – so you could reduce the time required during your recruitment process by filtering the applicants’ CVs to find the best candidates before committing to interviews.

Or, if you’re looking to narrow your choices down on suppliers, you could make your decision based to two factors – cost and the quality of the working relationship for instance. This may take some extra effort up-front, but it will undoubtably lead to the best decision. 

  1. Avoid Isolated Decision-Making

Although you’re the business owner, this doesn’t mean you have to make important decisions on your own. You might be an expert in understanding the workings of your business, but you could still lack specialist knowledge in certain areas that other members of your team could offer support in.

Involving your employees in making decisions is the perfect way to revolutionise your business’ decision-making process. It also shows you trust and respect them, which is key for maintaining satisfaction in the workplace. According to a Quality of Life @ Work study, employees who felt that their leaders treated them with respect were 63% more satisfied with their jobs, 55% more engaged and 58% more focused.

Even if you only let employees give input to assist you in making the final decision, this will still show that you value their opinions. And could bring your business some fresh thought too. 

  1. Think About Reducing Risk

Risk plays a pivotal part in decision making, thinking “exactly are the consequences if things don’t work out?” For peace of mind, a trick here is to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario before it happens.

Instead of focusing on the short-term repercussions, try to think long-term. Although your idea might be a temporary solution, how will it affect your business in two years’ time? What about in five years? Be sure to weigh up all potential scenarios before you finalise a decision. If the worst does happen, then be sure you have an alternative solution in place. Don’t panic and rush into anything.

You can also learn from previous mistakes – or the mistakes of other business owners and experts via blogs and case studies – to work towards reducing further risk.

For example, if your company invested budget into a marketing plan for a specific product, but it didn’t generate the expected results in terms of sales and customer satisfaction, you can learn from these errors to generate a higher return-on-investment (ROI) on your marketing spend. The overall solution here might be to obtain a small business loan from companies such as Liberis to plug cash flow gaps to ensure you have enough funding in place for future projects.

Decision-making is a vital skill in the business world; especially for those in senior positions. However, by following a logical procedure and being aware of any potential threats, you can easily make logical decisions that will lead to positive results.

Rafferty Gifford is a marketing executive at Liberis