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Settling Difficult Decisions for Your Small Business

-- 2012-01-18 1:00 am --

Starting a small business is a big challenge and a big step. One of the first things you need to do is really get into a win/loss mindset. You can't run a business based on your feelings, based on emotions, you have to run it on cold, hard logic. Maybe you'd like to hire your unemployed cousin, for instance, but if you don't really have the budget for another employee then you don't really have the budget for another employee.

Other decisions will be more difficult. For instance, if you see an opening in the market that will allow you to expand, you need to stop and consider whether or not expanding is actually worth it. At the end of the day maybe both choices are equally valid in their own way but you can only choose one. Here are three tips to making those decisions a little easier.

Someone Needs to Have Final Say

A beast with two heads will always be bickering with itself. Even if you're running a business with your wife or husband or your twin brother, somebody needs to have final say and everyone else needs to be willing to go along with it if they want to stay with the business.

Obviously, a good leader will take into account suggestions made by their staff, but they need to have total authority over their business goals if they are to stay focused and driven towards those ends. It does no good to have three or four managers all with different visions for the company.

Writing a Pros and Cons List

When you sit down to settle a difficult decision such as whether to sell the company or whether to expand, it helps to write down a list of pros on one side and cons on the other. Keep at it and sooner or later you might come to the pro or con that settles everything and makes the whole decision a lot easier.

For instance, if your business has fallen on hard times, selling is an easy way out that frees you of debt and stress, and that alone is worth selling for. On the other hand, if it's doing very well and the price you were offered is half what you think you could make in a year, then you might want to hold onto it. Many decisions become very easy once you lay out the facts.

Understanding Loss Avoidance and Instinctive, Gut Feelings

A lot of small business owners are afraid of losing what they've built. So afraid, in fact, that they never make any decisions that would improve their income or expand their business or see them becoming more successful. This instinct for loss avoidance is vital to survival, but detrimental to long term success. It's important to understand that your trepidation about some things is not realistic or logical but an instinctive want to avoid any sort of loss whatsoever. Sometimes the safe choice is the smart choice, but understand that your intuition can be your downfall.