Monday, February 26, 2024
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4 Steps for Making Great Business Decisions

Being a business owner has its advantages and disadvantages. You’re the final arbiter of any decisions within the business, which can be both good and bad. It’s wonderful when you have a clear sense of the direction you want to go in and you know that you don’t have to convince anyone else before moving forward. It’s less wonderful when you really don’t know what the right thing to do is. The steps below can help.

Be Concrete

The first step is to clearly articulate what you have to decide and what your options are. Then, you need to decide what criteria you will use to move ahead. There are a few different approaches that could be valuable. You might do a cost-benefit analysis with the various options and choose the one that will bring in the most money. You might list the pros and cons and weigh each one. You could also make a flow chart where you explore the results of each decision.

Gather Information

While you’re doing the above step, you may find that you need to do more research. If you’re struggling in your company with fleet management, can you consider installing cameras equipped with GPS. At this point, you could review a fleet manager’s guide to dashcams with GPS tracking. This would give you the information that you need to select the right tool. 

Other types of helpful research could include seeing how other companies have handled a similar situation or even reaching out to mentors and colleagues to discuss the issue. Gathering others’ perspectives can be particularly valuable. However, during this stage, beware of getting bogged down in too much research. It can be hard to know precisely when you’ve done enough, but just make sure you aren’t spinning your wheels. If it helps, you can set a deadline for information gathering.

List Your Steps and Evaluate

If the action you need to take is a multi-step process, like finding the perfect employee, be explicit about this as well, listing the steps and any additional information, such as the tools you’ll need to accomplish them or when you want them done by. Whether or not you have multiple steps to take, your final task should be to evaluate both the process and the decision itself. What went wrong and what went right, and why? What would you do differently next time? Depending on the type of decision, you might also want to set a timeline for reviewing the results, such as quarterly check-ins over the course of a year.

Use for All Decisions

Even when you’re moving ahead with a decision that you’re certain about, it’s a good idea to go through the above process although you may do so more quickly than usual. You probably know from experience that sometimes even choices that seem like precisely the right ones aren’t in hindsight. You can’t always prevent that from happening, but sometimes, slowing down and articulating your ideas can highlight weaknesses in your reasoning. In addition, the final evaluation step might provide you with insights you can use in the future.

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