When you’re running a business, your primary role is as decision maker. This evolves and expresses itself differently as your business grows: in the early days you’re taking vital day to day decisions about how you use the limited resources you have to face the many challenges that pop up in the short term. As your business grows and you’re able to hire an array of trusted senior members of staff you’re making decisions about the priorities they should pursue on your behalf and eventually, you’ll be making choices about the long term future of your business: big conceptual decisions that it’ll be your executives responsibility to build into their strategies.
The Hard Choices
Unfortunately, few of those decisions are easy. When you’re making quick choices about how to allocate limited resources, then deciding for one thing means deciding against another: this can cost customers, good will, even jobs! You have to trust your vision for the success of your company will repay those hard choices in the long term, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the ways you take them with confidence.
It’s hard to prioritise if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Early on in your business planning sessions, take the time to reflect on what you want your business to look like a year, five years and ten years into the future. This doesn’t have to be a rigid plan you stick to in the face of new information, but it definitely helps you choose between different options: which one is most helpful for that long term plan?
Do Your Research
If you have to make a difficult choice, it’s vital that you have hard data at hand. For one thing, it means your decision is more likely to be the right one – many people in business talk about the power of the gut instinct, but a gut instinct backed up by a dossier of market research is more reliable by far. The other important reason is that when you’re giving bad news, whether that’s to employees being asked to work late or let go, or to investors, or even to customers, it helps to be able to explain why.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is look for more experienced help. Using one of the agencies for management consulting London specialises in may not be within reach for a lean start up, but it’s worth looking into smaller scale options that will provide you with a level of decision making wisdom that would normally be beyond the reach of a business just coming out of the starting gate. Market research companies offer services that can supercharge you with data, and lawyers and consultants on topics from management, to growth, to HR can help you set structures in place with goals for the future that make even the hardest decisions easier to frame.