Lack of decision in business – or the inability to move forward — is one of the leading causes of business failures. In this economic climate, you, as the business owner, can’t afford to wait to make a decision, nor can you afford to make the wrong one.
Each of your decisions must be swift, and accurate.
When you are faced with choosing a new course of action, answer the following questions to determine the best way to go:
1. What is the goal?
Take a look at what it is you are trying to accomplish with this decision and consider both the short-term and long-term objectives. Sometimes what needs to happen in the short-term differs considerably from what you want to accomplish in the long-term. If this is the case, keep these differences in mind as you evaluate the other questions.
2. What is the implementation schedule?
It always takes some amount of time between making a decision and having it be fully implemented. That being said, sometimes the best course of action is the one you can take immediately. Implementing a less-than-perfect option in the short-term is sometimes better than waiting for the more perfect option later. You can always adjust and change course as you go.
3. What is your quality standard?
In the ideal world, every project would be produced with the highest quality standards possible. However, the highest quality often comes at a higher cost, and with a longer development and implementation timeline. So consider quality carefully and balance your ideals with what is obtainable within your objectives.
4. What are the options?
There are usually many options available for every decision, including some that are considered “out of the box” or not obvious at first glance. Make sure you thoroughly research your options and gather as much information as possible about each choice. However, don’t stay too long in the research mode or you risk delaying your decision too long.
5. What is your budget?
Price alone should never be the deciding factor. The lowest priced option is not necessarily of cheap quality; the highest priced option is not necessarily the best choice. Always consider price, but only as one of the factors.
6. What is the ROI?
When you invest in your business, be it by adding staff or developing a new product, the objective is always to benefit the business in some way. This benefit is formally called the Return on Investment or ROI. ROI is the amount of profit or cost savings that a given decision will realize. When considering ROI in the decision-making process, be sure to include both the direct benefits (for instance, increased sales), as well as the more indirect benefits (for instance, better employee moral leading to fewer turnovers).
There are many thousands of decisions that you must make in the course of running your business. Following a process for making those decisions will help you to be a swift and accurate decision maker, thereby propelling you and your business to greater levels of success.