Setting Yourself up for Success: Making the Right Decision at the Right Time

There is a natural inclination for new business owners to spend an inordinate amount of time making even simple decisions: What will I name my business? What hours should I be open? Should my logo have two or three colors? Where will I open my business account? Which supplier will I use? At what point can I quit my job? What will my product or service be? How much should I charge for my product or service?

Delaying a decision can lead to a situation where you’re forced into making a knee jerk decision. It’s important that during your start-up phase and, if possible, before you launch your business to develop a list of decisions you’ll need to make to get the business launched and grown to solvency. It’s also essential to revisit that list often to record what decisions you’ve made and what other decisions you need to make.

The Army has a wonderful method for insuring officers have the information they need to make a decision.

  1. Define the problem: Write a succinct statement of the issue.
  2. List facts relating to the problem: This is the step when you gather the intelligence that’s going to help you make a decision.
  3. Develop alternate solutions: Three seems to be the right number remembering that doing nothing is a decision.
  4. List the pros and cons of each solution.
  5. Review and make a decision.

Years ago I had a boss who told me, “Make a decision even if it’s wrong. I can always change a bad decision. I can’t change no decision at all.” I’ve found that, more often than not, to be the truth.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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