Yep, I’m sure you’ve quickly found out that decision making is a huge part of being a Entrepreneur. Yep, I’m sure you’ve quickly found out that decision making is a huge part of being an Entrepreneur. And many times, those decisions are not the easy ones like coffee or tea. Well, there is a process you can follow to help you make difficult decisions.
The first step is to disengage your emotions. When we’re first faced with a decision, it can feel overwhelming, or fear can creep in – fear of the unknown outcome, or making a bad choice, or just plain not wanting to make a choice.
Whenever this happens to me, I remember that I am an Entrepreneur. And the main thing Entrepreneurs do all day long is problem solving. Need to get more market share, solve the problem of how to reach your customers more effectively. Need more output, solve the problem of motivating your team to be more productive. Client giving you grief, solve the problem of how to better partner with them so you both get the outcome you want.
See, it’s all problem solving. And facing a tough decision is just more problem solving. It’s important that you look at it that way, because if you start seeing the problem as something bigger than you, something happening TO you – well, that can make you feel helpless and powerless. But remember, you always have the power, because you always have choices. Sure some choices are better than other, and some might not look good on paper – but they are choices nonetheless. So don’t ever let yourself think you are stuck – because you aren’t. You always have choices.
Now that you have the emotions out of the way – think carefully about what outcome you want. So many times, we focus on what we don’t want to happen, but we don’t spend any time figuring out what we actually WANT to happen. So, what do you want. What does that look like, feel like. What is the benefit of the outcome you want, if you got it, what would be your next step, how would it move you along to your ultimate vision. See, you can’t get away from it – everything either moves you closer to or farther from your vision. When you hold your vision top of mind, it will guide your decision making.
“… you are the Entrepreneur, It’s your decision, no one else’s. And you have the responsibility and accountability for making it. Don’t try to abdicate your responsibility – it’s yours and yours alone.”
OK, you know the outcome you want, now figure out how to get THAT. Determine what options are available, and what are the potential outcomes. Look at the options carefully. Sure, you can quickly discard the ones that don’t make sense, or would require more resources than you could reasonably provide. But be careful here – because when we dismiss something out of hand – Oh, that’s WAY too expensive; Oh, that would take WAY too much time; Oh, I could never do that, I don’t’ have the skills/talent/time.
When we do that without really considering what resources we do have at the ready, we can miss a golden opportunity. So as you’re going through this process, think about how you could get the skills/talent/time etc. that might make that option viable.
Now grab a piece of paper, or hop on your laptop, and create a pro and con list for each of the options. I know, it might sound time consuming, but a cold hard black and white list is still the best way to clearly evaluate one thing against another. And again, back to resources. What resources would you need for each, and how would you get them if you don’t have them already.
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Alright, by now you’ve done a huge amount of due diligence. Now it’s time to get some advice. And no, I don’t mean ask your sister, and her hairdresser, and the guy in the office next to you, and one of your friends from college. I mean, pick one (or at most 2) trusted advisers – people who know you, your situation, and have some business chops of their own. Seek them out and ask their opinion. And once they give it, take it under advisement. Just because a someone you trust say’s do this, doesn’t mean you have to do this. You may ultimate decide that THAT is better for you. It’s advice, not a directive. Take it, ask questions if you have them, and then put all that additional information in the pot. You can consider it as you are coming to a final decision.
I can’t stress this enough – you are the Entrepreneur, It’s your decision, no one else’s. And you have the responsibility and accountability for making it. Don’t try to abdicate your responsibility – it’s yours and yours alone.
Now, you’ve figured out what outcome you want, weighed the options, sought out advice from a trusted source – now sit back, think about the various outcomes and see how they make you feel. Yep, now that you’ve put your emotions aside, and done all this analysis – Now it’s time to check in with your gut. Most times, after getting access to the right information, you can trust your gut to point you in the right direction. You have good instincts – after all – you’re an Entrepreneur