This article is one in the multi-part series entitled The Entrepreneurial Mindset.
Experts suggest that the average person makes thousands of decisions a daily. This includes deciding things such as what to wear, what and how much to eat, whether or not to answer a phone call or text, and more.
As a small business owner, you are faced with an even greater amount of decisions day in and day out, from choosing how you want to market your business, to the ways in which you will advertise, to how you intend to deal with employee-related issues. And each decision either moves you closer to or further away from your career-related goals, which makes managing them critical to achieving higher levels of business success.
So, what is the best way to go about making better decisions? Simple. Follow this 5-step process:
Step #1: Start Early
The problem with facing too many decisions later in the day is that you may get something called decision fatigue. Education Partnerships, Inc. describes decision fatigue as “the deterioration in quality of decisions made by a person particularly later in the day and after time making complex decisions.”
In essence, your energy levels are lower at that point in time, negatively impacting your ability to make good decisions, so you’ll want to set aside time early in the morning to focus on dealing with any decisions that you have to make for the day. First thing when you get to work is a great time, maybe right after you’ve had a nice hot cup of coffee.
Step #2: Brainstorm Your Options
For each decision you have to make, you want to brainstorm your possible options and write them down so that you know what all of your choices are. This helps you not only visually see your possibilities, but it also forces you to really think about the alternatives available to you, sometimes helping you realize options that weren’t immediately visible.
You may even choose to bring others in on this brainstorming session with you to get as exhaustive a list as possible. This may include business partners, colleagues, employees, or anyone else with knowledge regarding the decision at hand. Don’t worry about whether or not something can or cannot be done; just write everything down that you can think of.
Step #3: Go Through Each Option Individually
Now that you have a complete list of options, it is time to go through each one individually to truly consider whether it is a true possibility that is worthy of consideration. If it is, what would you have to do to make it happen? If it is not, why not?
Also, what are the possible consequences of choosing that option, both positive and negative? Has anyone else tried this before and succeeded or failed? What did they do that you could improve upon? Do you have the resources necessary to make this option a success? Some of these answers may take some research, but that will only help you make a more educated decision, so put the time in necessary so you wind up with the best possible outcome.
Step #4: Select a Choice and Implement It
After going through your choices, one will likely stand out to you as the best one to try. So, make a decision to give that choice a go for a certain length of time to see if it brings about the results you desire.
The amount of time you allot depends largely on what you are trying to do and how long it will take to show results. For instance, David Newman of Do It! Marketing suggests giving your marketing ideas at least 90 days before deciding they aren’t going to work. Set a date for review, which leads you to the next and final step…
Step #5: Review Your Decision and Make Changes, if Necessary
Once the time you had set has gone by, it is time to review your decision to see how it is working out for you. If it is working well, then great, keep it going.
However, if it isn’t going so well, this is the perfect time to modify it. Maybe you need to tweak your approach in order to get better results. Or, it’s even possible that you have to scrap that decision completely and try one of the other options that you identified in your brainstorming session.
Either way, the thing to remember is that every decision you make is only temporary and can be changed at any time simply by making a new decision all together. As long as you follow this 5-step process, at least you know that your decision will be well thought out, giving you the best possible outcome possible.