Good decisions are key to great businesses. Alex Martinez offers some advice on making the right choices.
As co-founder of a successful business-to-business publishing start up, I can safely say that much of our success over the past seven years has been down to one central factor: making good decisions. At so many points in the development of your business, making the best choices can shape your destiny.
It is often said that good decision making comes with age and experience. But what if you're a young business owner? Or if you operate in a new market where there's not much experience to draw upon? Social networking, mobile apps and digital publishing are all examples of young markets where experience is hard to come by.
So, at the risk of giving away experience and the secrets of our success, here are some tips on good decision making.
The 90% Rule
If 90% of your decisions have a good outcome, you probably don't need to read any more. If not, carry on reading.
If You're Sure of a Decision, Make it Quickly
Don't waste time procrastinating and debating decisions you know are right. Make those decisions quickly and don't look back. This is particularly important for your staff, who will be looking for clear and confident direction.
Value Different Perspectives
Don't feel that involving others in difficult decisions is a sign of weakness. Good decision making involves collaboration to gain valuable perspectives, which can guide you to the best conclusion. It's a win-win situation, because your people will feel empowered.
Don't Let Your Ego Get in the Way
When you're asked to make a decision, it's easy to feel put on the spot. Because you don't want to lose face, you pressure yourself into making a hasty decision, just to appear decisive. Instead, simply say "let me take that away and give it some thought". Buy yourself some time to think and make the right decision in your own time.
Remember the Basics
Good decisions are built on research, knowledge and perspective. So always take time preparing, gathering information and planning your choices.
Always Have a Plan B
Even if 90% of your decisions are good, that means 10% will be wrong (or at least not so good). So make sure you reduce their impact by having a back-up plan if things don't work out.
Don't Ignore Gut Feeling
Your gut feeling is a mix of intuition, life experience and personal understanding that gives you a strong leaning towards a particular decision. Experience will tell you whether to follow your gut feeling or not. If your track record is successful, then use it. If not, don't.
Get Trusted Advisers, Not 'Yes' People
Surround yourself with people you trust but who are prepared to tell you when they don't agree with you. This may be a nonexecutive director or a group of advisers who can help you reach the right decisions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.