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What Would a Freeman Do?

Decisions should be strategicThe classic line from the movie “300” invokes a troubled view of a no win situation. Queen Gorgo doesn’t reassure her husband Leonidas or console him. She baits him into making a decision that could bring terrible consequence upon her and Sparta. In small business we face the same kind of risk in evaluating the best decisions for daily business. Probably don’t attribute life and death to each one but the premise is still the same.

Education First

Before making any critical business decision you should consult many resources not just referrals and friends. Many of these potential participants have unknown motives that can jeopardize business in the future. Each opinion you review has to be evaluated against the opportunity, their potential gain, and risk if the advice is wrong. Sometimes this can be very difficult. This is the main reason to educate first prior to making important decisions. Don’t dismiss this advice as obvious. Think back on decisions you have made. Were they based on strategic planning or “gut” feeling?

Who Finally Benefits?

Often decisions are made based on short-term results rather than long-term benefit. Benefactors may not even be considered. In the case of buying “good deal” products and services stemming from potential gain rather than how the fit in the product mix, purchase may lead to disaster including stranded assets, confused marketing messaging, and misdirection of customer attention. The only benefactor of this situation is the first seller. Everyone else adds risk and potential financial loss during the sales process. Business decision-making should evaluate the final benefactor(s) and roles of eachparticipant(s). Many companies end up in serious trouble if this practice is not the standard. The question becomes, “was this a good deal for the company?”

Decisions by Committee

In small business, owners tend to make decisions based on their knowledge of a situation and not all the potential facts that can be gleaned by others. A good practice is asking for opinions and perspectives prior to making the final call. Teams always have a better “hive” mind and usually make better decisions.  Owners fear being overruled by the committee which can lead to decision paralysis and perhaps choosing a lesser path to success. Strong small businesses build human capital and treat their employees and contractors as useful assets and resources.

Putting It All TogetherDecisions should focus long-term

In essence decisions should be formed from careful screening of all available data, take into account perspectives and opinions, be evaluated against set requirements and guidelines, and make the company function better. If the result of a decision leads to a negative outcome, simply don’t do it. Apply strategy and planning to guarantee success. Start by using my seven step method to provide a ground floor to build on. Call or e-mail any questions because it is YOUR decision to make.

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