How to make better decisions in your business
Updated: Oct 27, 2022
As a small business owner, we are faced with thousands of decisions in our business, most of which we have to make alone.
From brand fonts and colours to marketing strategies, the list is endless. It's easy to waste all your time and energy feeling frazzled, overwhelmed and spinning around in indecision.
You lose mental energy and momentum when you worry about making the 'wrong decision'. And it can really hold you back from making progress in your business.
Your ability to make decisions is your power as a small business owner.
Let me say that again: your ability to make decisions is your power. Quick decision-making is one of the most important skills you can develop as an entrepreneur. It allows you to make progress in your business, and create the life you want.
There is no such thing as the wrong decision.
Decisions are neutral. It is just a choice that you make. How you FEEL about the outcome of your choice is up to you: that is simply another decision you make.
You get to choose if the decision is right for you or not. But when you start seeing decisions as neither right nor wrong but as part of your learning & growth as a small business owner, you will make progress more quickly in your business.
Action = progress. So you need to make a decision quickly and then take action.
If you make a decision that has a positive outcome, GREAT - KEEP GOING! Take what you've learned and continue to improve it; you will soon face the next decision you need to make.
And if you get a negative outcome, GREAT - MAKE A NEW DECISION. You've successfully figured out what doesn't work for you, eliminated it off your list, and got some deeper insight into what you do and don't want. We often learn more from making so called 'wrong decisions' than we do from right ones.
Regardless of the outcome, you get to reframe your situation and say, "that was the right decision" even if it means you have to course-correct and try something new.
How to become confident at making decisions quickly
Imagine you didn't waste days, weeks or months second-guessing yourself. How much progress would you have made in your business by now?
Here are some tips for making better decisions and taking action.
Call it an experiment:
When you reframe your situation and call it an experiment, you let go of perfectionist tendencies and give yourself permission to take imperfect action.
And when things are an experiment, they no long need to be 100% perfect. You'll find you stop procrastinating because there's no more fear of failure or of messing things up.
Make quick decisions:
First you need to get clear about the result you want. And commit to making as many decisions as are needed to get the result.
It doesn't matter if the decisions have positive or negative results. The more choices you make and the more quickly you make them, the sooner you will reach the result you want.
So instead of wasting time collecting loads of data in order to make your decision, just make a decision. You will only really know if something works for you by trying it out. Clarity comes from taking action.
Flip a coin:
Studies show that flipping a coin to help you make decisions can lead to a happier life! Another way flipping a coin can help is to pay attention to how you feel when you see the results. Are you satisfied or relieved? Then that's a good sign. But if the result leaves you feeling uneasy, listen to your gut instinct and go with the other choice.
Once you've made your decision, you need to take action. This is where your power lies. And taking action in your business is the only way to move things forward.
If you need to research something, it's very important to stay on-task so that you don't get lost down the rabbit hole that is Google. Set yourself a deadline, and only gather enough information to take your next step - nothing more!
Ask for advice:
Asking for feedback and advice is usually a good thing, but you need to be asking the right people. Only ask people who really understand the bigger picture of what you're trying to achieve. Be wary of asking the opinions of well-meaning friends and family who may not understand that you sometimes need to make bold decisions to advance your business.
Align with your core values:
Sometimes you'll need to make big decisions in your business, and the most effective way to do this is to shut out all the noise and find the answer within. Often you already know the answer, you just need to stop over-thinking things, stop listen to the opinions of others, and stop comparing yourself to what others are doing.
Stay in your lane. And follow what lights you up and makes you feel good.
When you can't decide whether to say YES or NO, fall back on your core values. Use them as your North Star and let them guide you in making a choice that's aligned with what's truly important to you - and not anyone else.
Follow your gut instinct
Get out of your head and into your heart. You already know the answers. To stop over-thinking everything and second-guessing yourself, try these things to tap into your gut instinct.
Journalling is really powerful and can help you untangle your thoughts and find the answer to your question. Find yourself some quiet thinking space, get yourself into the zone with candles or nature or whatever makes you tick.
And start writing... write and write and get it all out. Let the stream of consciousness flow - don't judge yourself or edit your work. By doing this, you're tapping into your inner wisdom and deep down you have the answers already so this is just a way to bring them to the surface and expose them.
Take your thought on a walk
One of the best ways to creatively problem solve is to move your body. Going for a walk is very effective and can often solve your problem. Sometimes you can listen to music as your walk and contemplate your question. Or you can dictate into your phone (I use Otter.ai for this!). And, again, don't judge or edit yourself - let the stream of consciousness flow and untangling your thoughts. By the end of the walk you should have answered your question.
Trust your intuition
Sit still and take a few deep breaths to quieten your mind. When you're feeling calm and relaxed, ask yourself the question you had in mind. Pay attention to how your body feels in the split second after you've asked the question.
Did you feel expansive or contractive in the moment after you asked the question? It's a very subtle feeling, a response caused by your conscious and unconscious brain agreeing with one another (reward response) or disagreeing with one another (threat response).
If your body responded negatively and you felt a fleeting moment of fear or dread, then this isn't' the right choice for you. But if you responded positively, you'd have felt a micro expansion and sense of energy and excitement. This is the feeling to follow!
Remember, decision making is a valuable skill to hone as a small business owner. Making good decisions in your business is actually all about making quick decisions. Make a choice, and move on.
Ultimately, the best person to make decisions in your business is you. You need to trust yourself, and just get on with it. Progress is better than perfection!
Speaking of decisions, are there any decisions you're mulling over to do with your website? I've created two guides that you're welcome to download. They will help you cut down the number of decisions you need to make, and move you forward more quickly in your business:
HOW TO PLAN A BRILLIANT SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE:
This is free 20 minute video that shows you exactly what you need to know and the decisions you'll need to make when building a website. It comes with an editable workbook.
THE ULTIMATE WEBSITE CHECKLIST:
The Ultimate Website Checklist helps you make sure that you have all the right elements in the right place on your website.