Entrepreneurs are natural born problem solvers.
To solve difficult problems, you need to make difficult decisions.
In this article, I will unpack five tips to help you improve your decision making process.
1. Don’t delay decision making
Simple decisions are fun. You can tick them off your to do list and feel like you’ve accomplished something along the way. When the stakes increase and you’re faced with making a critical business decision, don’t delay because it’s difficult.
Dedicate a focused block of time each day to work through the pros, cons, risks and realistic outcomes of your decision. Consider the second and third order effects of your decision during this session.
Sweeping problems under the rug will not help you make better decisions.
2. Shelve ego and emotion
Decision making can be difficult because you become too personally invested in how a decision will make you look and feel. Can you objectively solve the problem? Yes! List potential causes and put your emotion and ego on the back-burner.
Imagine your business isn’t generating enough revenue to hit your target. What is the specific cause of this?
- Do you have a positioning issue?
- Is your pricing right?
- Do your potential customers know your brand?
- What can help you solve these problems?
You will make better decisions by focusing on the facts instead of personal deficiencies. If you need help with anything in your business, from marketing through to customer service, you have options.
Self-awareness is an entrepreneurial power play.
3. Ask an expert
The decision you’re making has likely been made in the past. While the problems you’re trying to solve are unique to you, it’s highly probable that someone else has solved the same issue at a larger scale.
Luckily, entrepreneurs are very approachable and love to help each other. To get an expert help with your question, research the influencers in the area you need help with, then send three of them a quick note to ask for their help. Serve up the facts, your thoughts and the options you are considering.
A neutral third-party to help you make decisions will keep you objective.
Work from a proven playbook instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
4. Question your data
You will never have complete data to make your decision. This is OK.
It’s still your responsibility to seek the right data. Relying on a friend’s opinion as a trusted data source may land you in hot water. Instead, use qualitative and quantitative customer feedback if you’re making a decision that impacts your customers. Use industry trends, research reports and ask experts in your field if you’re making a strategic move. The only thing that is worse than having no data is trusting the wrong data, so be vigilant about the inputs to your decision making process.
Seek trustworthy data and your decision making ability will skyrocket.
5. Plan for doomsday
The final step of decision making is understand the underlying risks of the decisions you make.
I like to call it planning for doomsday. Take 10 minutes to deeply consider the absolute worst case scenario of the decision you’re about to make. For example, if you need to let someone go from your business, what is the absolute worst case outcome? Perhaps they’ll sue you for wrongful dismissal or your team will lose their motivation. There are dozens of ways to mitigate the risks of each decision, but first, you need to clearly identify these risks.
Know your risks and you will rest easy when making decisions.
When you get a decision wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, reflect on why it failed, then write it down to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.
This article was written by Alex McClafferty from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.