Tips to Make Better Decisions for Your Business
Inside your business, there are three levels of decision-making.
The problem is, most entrepreneurs are unaware of this, so they simply make whatever decision they think is best. In the beginning, this is fine, because you build initial success and momentum through trial and error.
It helps to be the entrepreneur who breaks things and innovates, but as you scale your business from six to seven figures, you need to evolve from an entrepreneur into a CEO. You need to own your business so it no longer owns you, which requires a different level of thinking.
Within your business there are three types:
- Reactive decision-making- Every entrepreneur begins here. You wake up each morning and feel like a firefighter putting out one flame after another. You have no idea where the next one will spring up, but you know it will at some point. You react to everything around you, meaning you spend little time on the decisions you make. You never feel like you have enough time, and it’s hard to feel like you’re on top. Worse, you use a lot of your energy doing this, which means you have less of it to reserve for the things that matter within your business. So long as you base your decision-making on reactive thinking, you have a hustle, not a business.
- Proactive decision-making- Depending on your business and initial success, you can move into proactive decision-making rather quickly. This is the stage where you think 90 days in advance. You no longer wake up each day putting out fires; instead, you wake up knowing what to do and when to do it. Entering the proactive decision-making stage is an important period for an entrepreneur because you now have enough time and energy to plan for the future. You begin to understand your cash flow, where you will be 90 days from now, and the general plan and process to get you from A to B. As an entrepreneur it’s vital you get to this level of thinking as soon as possible, because in this stage you can see what’s coming at you before it reaches you. This allows you to proactively deal with obstacles and stop mistakes from spiraling out of control.
- Strategic decision-making- The truth is, few entrepreneurs get to this stage, and it can take those that do years to think at a strategic level on a daily basis. This is the promised land. Those who base their decision-making around strategic thinking are the ones who own the most impactful businesses, and those who enjoy true happiness, abundance, and freedom. What drives this growth is your mindset, and you can make huge strides today by simply thinking about all this. Be aware of where you are, and commit to this idea of becoming a strategic thinker.
In the beginning, most entrepreneurs base their decision-making on reactive thinking. You move at a fast pace, so it’s near impossible to strategize and come up with a plan.
Your aim is to elevate through these three levels until you base the majority of your decisions on strategic thinking.
What is Risk?
A probability or threat of damage, injury, liability, loss, or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be avoided through preemptive action.
Most decisions require information not only about risk but about other things as well. This additional information can include such things as cost, schedule requirements, and public perception. In risk-based decision making, all of the identifiable factors that affect a decision must be considered. The factors may have different levels of importance in the final decision. Therefore, an orderly decision analysis structure that considers more than just risk is necessary to give decision-makers the information needed to make smart choices.
To fully understand your business risk, every business needs to focus on three things, which will vary based on your business model and customer base:
1. Measure the risk
2. Monitor the risk so you can react to it
3. Wherever possible, take actions to mitigate the risk
All three of these areas are important because no one of them is sufficient to run your small business. There are several resources available for business owners to help you evaluate and measure your business risk. There are also services to provide information on industry and customer sentiment. What’s more, there are advisors and tools at little or no cost through public agencies and universities to help you better understand and mitigate risk in your business.
Understanding Short-Term vs. Long-Term Risk Impacts:
Short-term is a concept that refers to holding an asset for a year or less, and accountants use the term “current” to refer to an asset expected to be converted into cash in the next year or a liability coming due in the next year. The accounting profession uses current assets and current liabilities to perform analysis, and in the investing industry, a security with a holding period of one year or less is a short-term security.
Generally, a timeframe for investing in which an asset is held for at least seven to ten years. The measure of a “long-term” time frame can vary depending on the asset held or the investment objective. In business accounting measures, long-term can be a period of time that exceeds 12 months.
A cyclical industry is a type of industry that is sensitive to the business cycle, such that revenues generally are higher in periods of economic prosperity and expansion and are lower in periods of economic downturn and contraction. Companies in cyclical industries can deal with this type of volatility by implementing employee layoffs and cuts to compensate during bad times and paying bonuses and hiring en masse in good times.
The business cycle is comprised of four discrete phases. During the expansionary phase, productivity grows, unemployment shrinks and stock markets tend to rise. Because more people are employed during this phase and their investment portfolios are growing, they have more discretionary income and are less reticent about spending it. The peak follows the expansionary phase. At this point, the economy has reached the end of an expansion and subsequently begins its contractionary phase.
Where Can Small Businesses Improve
Making consistent improvements to enhance your business is critical toward its success and sustainability. Things like monitoring cash flow consistently, utilizing social media for marketing and recognizing your strengths while asking for help in areas that are less so, can help you focus on improving areas of your business that offer the biggest gain.