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Five Steps to Making Business Decisions

As a business owner, you have to make decisions on a regular basis. Whether they are big decisions or small ones, every one has an impact on your business. It’s not uncommon to feel a bit overwhelmed.

There is an excellent way to fine-tune your decision making process, one that is guaranteed to keep you from becoming overwhelmed by all of the information and facts and figures that you need to consider before making a decision.

Break each decision down into five manageable steps. This will help you to distinguish each part of the process, to put all of the information into a logical order that will help you to make the best possible choice.

  1. Define the issue. When you have to make a decision, it is usually because something has come up and it requires your attention; whatever it is, you need to identify it so that you are absolutely clear on what is happening. Defining the issue, the situation will clarify your thoughts. It will remove any extraneous ideas and keep you focused on the specific issue that you must resolve.
  2. Evaluate the options. Once you have defined the issue, you will find that there is more than one potential solution. You have to evaluate each option to determine which will bring you closer to your business vision. Your decision may only bring you  one step closer, but that is fine. You will reach your business goal one step at a time.
  3. Make the decision. When you know which option is the best choice, you are ready to make your decision. You know what is good for your business, what will bring you closer to your goals and vision. At this step, it’s natural to want to take some time to reflect on your choice. That’s fine, but don’t spend too much time in a reflective state. Once you are confident that you have chosen the best option, make the decision. There’s no time like the present to take the next step forward.
  4. Implement the decision. Once you have decided on the course you will take, implement whatever you need to do to make the decision work. If you have decided to offer a workshop, start planning it now. If you are going to invest in yourself, commit and organise investment. If you are going to write a new sales letter, start drafting it today. Don’t delay. Your decision won’t help you if you don’t actually make it happen.
  5. Monitor the solution. The only way to make sure that your decision is moving you and your business forward is to monitor the solution that you chose. If you wrote a new sales letter, keep track of how many clients it brings you. If you’re using a new accounting software, pay attention to how much time it saves you…

Most importantly, it isn’t the end of the world if you find that the decision is not bringing you closer to your goals. Now that you know the steps to follow, you can use what you have learned to begin again. Following these five steps is always the right decision 😉

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This post is part of the HP SugarTone contest: “Making your business amazing”, sponsored by Hewlett Packard

Frederique has developed the "Mountain Moving Mindset" programme, where she empowers business owners, entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs to master their mindset, so that they can move mountains and bring their businesses to the next level! She shares her M3 programme through her mentoring & coaching packages, published articles, blog, newsletters, and live events, where she passionately teaches and uniquely transfers the same skills, attitudes and systems that work for her to the business owners ready to reach new heights

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  • Hi Frederique, A big welcome to Bloggertone & what a great article, I love this post! Great decisions are as a direct result of having a clearly defined decision making process. You provide a practical & straight forward route. No one gets it right all of the time but the clear enemy of decision making as you point out is fear. Every manager would do well to read this, thanks for sharing.

  • What a great start to our Sugartone competition, well done Frederique – and welcome to Bloggertone also!!

    One thing occurred to me as I read your first sentence – defining the issue – “When you have to make a decision, it is usually because something has come up and it requires your attention; ”

    Although I don’t do it enough myself, I am a great believer in managing what is important rather than what is urgent. This would allow us to keep ahead of our game, if only we could find the time to work on our business, rather than in the business.

    An issue I see a lot of my own clients have, is the fire fighting – constantly chasing after themselves, and never quite making it, and then having to deal with the aftermath of that.

    They won’t even make it to point 3 – making a decision!

    So thank you for scripting a great set of easy pointers we can all benefit from 🙂

  • Facundo

    Welcome to Bloggertone Frederique! I like the idea of frameworks in management, although I find them hard to implement in practice. Probably most people do. At least it is good to keep them in mind so as to identify where one is (e.g. defining stage, implementation, etc), and not get too stuck.

  • Welcome to Bloggertone Frederique. What a brilliant start the competition. Brilliant strategy.

  • Niall, thank you, I am delighted to be part of the Bloggertone community!Thanks for the post feedback; and you are right, fear is the emotion, the state to be thoughtful of; I wrote another post a couple of weeks ago, where I highlight a special ingredient to add to this 5-step process, and that special ingredient is faith.You see, when we are making our decisions based on fear, we are being reactive rather than proactive. The key to making proactive decisions is shifting our mindset. We need to shift our mind away from fear and make our business decisions based on faith: these are the decisions that help us to move forward 😉

  • Thanks Mairéad! Delighted to “bloggertone” now 😉 Glad you like the strategy, it is probably the cornerstone of my thriving business, such a vital success piece!

  • Thanks Facundo, great to be onboard!

    Consistency is key, apply the process, again, and again, till it becomes a routine; you can shift your mindset to make all of your upcoming decisions following that process; first shift is to believe it is easy to implement in practice.

    One of my favourite business practices is to model other people as if anyone does anything, it means that it is feasible, if it is feasible, then it can be modelled / copied.

    With that particular process, I find that some many people stop at step #4, and the #5 is SO important 😉

  • Thanks Elaine, it is a pleasure to be part of such a group of talented bloggers 😉

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the post; and, I agree, as business owners and entrepreneurs we easily get involved, way too much (it takes one to recognise one!) in the business as opposed to working on the business. When I first started I was probably working 95% IN the business and 5% ON the business, this has now drastically changed and with that shift, my results have also drastically improved. Working ON our business is very important.

    To help with that, I suggest using a reflection wheel (I have a link to the one I use, will see from the Bloggertone guys, if I can post 😉 to capture our activities; I recommend to do that exercise every 3 months. Once you have the wheel graphic, ask yourself the following 5 questions: What should I start doing? What should I stop doing? What should I continue doing? What should I do more of? and, What should I do less of? That process will help you reflect on the last 3 months and make really appropriate decisions for your business activities going forward.

  • Caitrionaellis

    Genius article from genial entrepreneur! No more to be said.

  • Great advice to break challenges down into bite-sized steps and then just take one! It’s easy to freeze if you feel overwhelmed.

  • Welcome to bloggertone Frederique and what a great post, making decisions is a normal part of running a business and from time to time a major one comes our way, this is a great strategy….. well done

  • Hi Frank, nnEdward De Bono made the point that the root of this may be in the education system, for example, we rewards kids based on their individual results whereas in the u2018real worldu2019 your success is determined more by how you collaborate with others.nnTeaching and rewarding kids to collaborate may be one way to change how we interact in business scenarios. I know I find this difficult as, even when working as part of a team, there is always the competitive element to be the cleverest, fastest etc. It ainu2019t easy :)nnIvann

  • Patricia

    What a great and thoughtful share Frank – ties into a statement that a great leader I was fortunate to work alongside often proclaimed to his ‘team’ – he compared our team to a bicycle wheel where “there are big cogs and little cogs but the wheel won’t turn unless all the cogs work in unison & every cog in the wheel has as much importance as the other.” This ethos created a fair and open work force where everyone give there best. I really like your message, though I’m not advocating we fall in love with bicycle’s …

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Facundo. In reality I think you will have projects that are a joy to be part of, and you will have projects that are a disaster zone, and are a real pain to participate in. nnIt’s easy for everyone to get along during a project in which everything is going smoothly. I think the real test of character comes, when you find yourself in a difficult project.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Niall. I think there are lots of things that businesses pay lip service to, and it would certainly seem that for quite a few the notion of “our people coming first” is sorely lacking.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Ivan. Very well said. Thinking back to my Secondary school days in the late 80s and early 90s, I find it hard to recall any group based projects, in which we needed to collaborate with our classmates.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Mairead. It’s good to hear that things are changing in schools. Are they encouraging more group based projects that contribute to final exam results?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Sharon. Wonderful story that illustrates the point made in my posts. Thanks for sharing. I remember my first ever boss saying to me that Ireland is such a small place and that one should never burn bridges. Your story also shows that by going in the opposite direction and building bridges can pay off a long time down the line.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Patricia. For what it’s worth I love bicycles. I saw a brilliant quote recently from H.G. Wells that said “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race”.nnGreat analogy.nnWe all have great fondness for great leaders we’ve had the luck to work under in the past. One of the features that comes across in the book about Lombardi, was how highly those who played under spoke of him.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Elaine. I’ve taken a note of the book you mention, and have added it to my to-read list.

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