As a business owner or leader, there are times in your life where you’ll need to make immediate decisions without thinking too much. We all have a tendency to overthink in certain situations, which can make it difficult to progress with our business. Sometimes, the best thing to do is simply make a decision and stick with your initial ideas. Let’s take a look at seven situations where you should make quick business decisions instead of thinking for days or weeks on end.
Thinking Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
⏱ 12 minutes reading time
🎧 Audio version available
To Stay Ahead of the Competition
When you are launching a new product, or you are looking for a way to stay ahead of the competition, quick decisions are the key to remaining at the top of your field. There are many situations where making a decision slowly could result in you losing out on a huge amount of business to your competition. If you see your competition acting quickly, it’s time for you to quickly make a decision and decide which direction you are looking to take your business. Try to avoid overthinking in this type of situation, as you could be left in a very bad place by delaying your actions by a couple of days.
In an Emergency
While you should always try to think with clarity during an emergency, this is one of those times when a very quick decision is needed. Most emergencies need immediate action, or you’ll only look to make the situation far worse. For that reason, we encourage you to think carefully but quickly when an emergency of any shape or size takes place in your business. Bring in other trusted leaders or colleagues if you need to, so you can work to find the best solution to the current issue you are facing together.
If a deadline is looming over you, this is a clear indication that a decision needs to be made very quickly. In almost every situation in business, you can’t delay the deadline just to give yourself more time to think. When a piece of work or a statement is due for release on Friday, then your decision needs to be made well ahead of that time. This will allow you to feel fully confident in your decision and ensure that you have everything set up for your success in time. Time is sometimes the thing we need to push us towards making a decision quicker, otherwise, we have the tendency to mull over things for far too long.
Situations With Health and Safety Risks
Health and safety risks are another indication that a decision needs to be made as quickly as possible. When you could be risking the health of yourself, your colleagues, or your employees, you need to do everything you can to minimize the chance of further damage in the future. Try to act safely but quickly in these situations and make a decision that will reduce the damage to your business. While these types of issues can fill you with dread and fear, remaining calm and confident and adopting your role as a leader is critical in this type of situation.
When a Customer Is Waiting for an Answer
Your customers should always be your number one priority as a business owner, but so many of us think they can wait a day or two for a decision to be made. This is one of the riskiest moves you could make as a business owner. When you delay giving your customers answers to their queries or concerns, you only risk them walking away to your nearest competitor. When you need to make a decision about anything revolving around customer service, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to act as quickly as you can.
Protect Yourself from Loss
Loss comes in many different forms within a business, but quick action can help to stop you from losing money, stock, or employees. Any situation which could involve you losing an important asset from your business requires quick business decisions. You might not be able to reverse the damage once it’s done, so always think quickly but rationally when you find yourself in this type of situation. A great example of this is if you have stock that is getting damaged by flooding. The quicker you can act, the less likely you’ll lose all of the hard-earned money that you’ve poured into your business so far.
When a Situation Is Out of Your Control
There are many things in life and business which are ultimately out of our control. All we can do in these situations is do the best we can and hope that everything turns out as we hoped. When this is the case in your business, we recommend taking the time to think about your options and then just going for the one that seems right to you. We can’t always get everything our way, but if someone else is ultimately going to make the final decision, you can only do what you can with the tools you have at the time. Good examples of this are national emergencies or shutdowns, which you have little control over. You can only work to save your business to the best of your ability, and the rest will take care of itself from there.
By following these top tips for the times when you should make quick business decisions, you can save yourself from days or weeks of overthinking. While it can be tough to work under pressure and time restraints, we recommend trying to avoid decision fatigue and come to a solution as soon as possible. Once you’ve made your decision, try to stick with what you’ve concluded instead of going back and forth on your ideas. You’ll find that when you start to practice good decision-making skills, they will soon become a habit that will stick with you for the rest of your career.
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