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Five Tips for Decision Making In Your Business

Inspired action, plus positive expectations, equals inevitable results. I tell myself this all the time. It’s written on post-it notes all over my house. So, be aware of how you feel physically and how you feel emotionally when you are making all of the decisions for your business. Are you making them out of inspiration? Or are you making decisions out of fear and scarcity? Because decision making out of fear and scarcity is what leads you astray.
Blog header image with a woman thinking through a decision, and the title Five Tips for Decision Making In Your Business

Five Tips for Decision Making In Your Business

Being a business owner means making decisions. Simply being a human being means making decisions, but being a business owner means that you are basically a permanent problem solver. That’s what businesses do. They exist to make money by solving problems, and being the owner makes you the Chief Problem Solver, the Chief Decision Maker. 

One of the hardest decisions to make in a business is whether or not to stay the course, or do something different and change direction. How do you know if you are on the right path? Or if you just haven’t tried hard enough yet? You often hear that people quit “three feet from gold,” but how do you know if you are three feet from the gold or not even in the general vicinity? How do you know if you are being driven by inspiration or by a fear and scarcity mindset? 

The truth is, there is no perfect way to tell any of these things. It’s about making a decision and knowing that you will do what you need to do to give your business the absolute best shot at working, and then looking at the results and making adjustments to your next decision based on those results. There really is no simple, straightforward path to what you are trying to achieve, to the money you are trying to make. It is a series of adjustments and tweaks to keep you moving forward toward your overall goal. 

The Impact of the Changing Economy on Small Businesses 

I’ve been talking to some extremely successful business owners lately, and what they are all telling me is similar to what I’ve been talking about and writing about lately: what used to work isn’t working anymore. What got you here won’t get you there. Things are harder than they used to be. And by “used to be” I mean just a year ago. 

Things are definitely harder on small business owners than they were 18 months ago. A financial person who I know who does bookkeeping and consulting for coaches and consultants reported that during tax season she saw more coaches, consultants, and other business owners get part-time jobs than she has ever seen before.

While talking to a very successful friend of mine who lives out in California, she told me that they are adjusting what they are doing because what they successfully did for many years is not working right now. So, if things are not working the same way in your business, you are not alone. 

The need to make changes in your business due to the economy is coming up in conversations now more than I’ve ever seen it. Everything just seems harder to accomplish, in business and in life. I thought of this yesterday at the grocery store, where there was no lettuce. The grocery store was out of basic iceberg lettuce. The most benign food you can find that used to be 49 cents, was nowhere to be found. So while it seems like it’s just iceberg lettuce, it’s an example that things are just harder than they used to be in many different ways. 

Decision Making Guidelines on What to Tweak and What to Keep

If being a business owner equals being the Chief Problem Solver, the decision maker, then marketing is your testing ground.  Large corporations test using market research studies. Small businesses test directly in the marketplace with a real audience.

So, what do you need to look at to get the data to help you make your decisions? Start with looking at how you talk about what you do, who is buying what, and how people respond to what you are doing. If you made an offer, did people buy it or not buy it? If you put content out, did anyone respond to it? Did they respond favorably or unfavorably?

Sometimes making the right decision means making the best decision you can in the moment. Here are some things to consider when considering what to tweak and what to keep in your business. 

Staying clear on the overall goal but remaining flexible in how it is provided. 

One of the first things to consider is your overall goal for the business, meaning the outcome that you provide for your client. If you keep changing the outcome that you provide for your client, you will not get the benefit of building momentum for your brand. You will lose all momentum, and now is not the time to be losing momentum. 

Using my business as an example, we have several different ways that we work with people, but the outcome that we provide has never faltered. We help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their business with strategy, not instant tactics. That’s never changed, it will never change. That’s  the thing that drives me.

Understand the problem your ideal client is having.

The second thing to consider is that you have to understand the problem that your client is experiencing at an entirely different level. Businesses exist to solve problems, so it is important to be crystal clear on the problem that you solve for your client. What problems are they facing? Do they still have this problem? Is it still one of the biggest problems they have, or has it been knocked down on their list of priorities? 

I have seen a lot of businesses go out of business or hit harder times than they needed to because the problem that they were speaking to no longer exists, or it is no longer the biggest problem their client has. If your client has more pressing needs than the problem you solve, you are going to have a really hard time getting clients. 

When I talk about understanding the problem that your ideal client faces, it is also to make sure that you can speak to what they are feeling and the challenges they face. The more you understand the problems your clients face, the more nuanced language you can use to speak about the solution that you offer. There are many different ways that you can create the same outcome but talk about it differently. Understanding the very specific problem that your ideal client is facing is what is going to let you create the language that lands with that client. 

Using the restaurant industry as an example, they exist to provide food and beverages to hungry people. Prior to the Covid pandemic, most of their business was to give people a place to go to enjoy the atmosphere and the food away from their own kitchens.

When the world shut down for Covid-19, going out to eat was not a problem that the majority of people needed to have solved. The most successful restaurants were able to pivot and offer take-out menus that often differed from their regular take-out menus. We saw family meals, cocktails to-go, contact-free pickup, and menus accessed with barcodes.

And now, as life has gone back to normal, those same successful restaurants are back to serving people who are ready to go out and socialize again. The outcome of feeding people has not changed, but the problem faced by their clients changed in multiple ways over the last few years. 

Be more specific, not more general.

During a constricting economy, people get more dialed into the problems that they are having. As a business owner, this means that you need to show in a very specific way how you solve the problem that they are having. When people are facing challenges, they are very interested in solving their specific problem and less interested in just feeling better. Specific problems and specific outcomes get priority over general feelings and general outcomes. 

You’ve probably heard the saying, “the riches are in the niches.” When things are harder, the niche you serve becomes even more important because this is what lets you understand the exact problem your clients are having, so you can offer the exact way that you solve it. It allows you to be really specific for them, and for you to know that you are marketing and selling to a niche that still exists. If their world has changed to the point where the problem you solve is no longer on their radar, growing your business is going to be a challenge.

However, you can adjust and tweak your niche through your marketing, and what you are saying and who you are saying it to, to make sure the market still exists for your business. Most importantly, you can do so without throwing out your entire business strategy. In fact, understanding the extremely specific problem that your client has can literally save your business, as well as some of the turmoil that you might be going through. 

Watch your finances and remove complexity to your processes. 

This falls more into your business operations rather than marketing and branding, but it is more important than ever to clean up your finances and your processes. You have to make sure that you are removing the friction from your money and your processes so that you are not wasting time or money. 

Take a look at how you are achieving your internal processes. How can you clean that up? Is there a way to get the outcome you need less expensively, or in a less complex way? We tend to allow things to get loose when money is more readily available, but if you are not vigilant about keeping things simple, they get more complicated and expensive. The way to remain vigilant is to measure and track things more frequently, and to examine the results you are experiencing, to ensure that you are being efficient. 

Do your mindset work.

It’s very easy to get sucked into reaction mode. It is also very easy to feel massively overwhelmed and focused on the problems that you are having. But, we cannot solve problems by focusing on them. In fact, as soon as your brain realizes there is a problem, all it sees is that problem and it turns off any inspired, creative solution. This means that now is the time to double down on your mindset work. 

Ask yourself where you are not seeing the results that you want. What mindset work could help you open yourself up to different results? Whether it’s money stories, abundance versus scarcity, limiting versus empowering beliefs, gratitude. Always go back to the gratitude for what it is that you do have to help you get out of the spin and out of the challenge of focusing only on the problem. 

Inspired action, plus positive expectations, equals inevitable results

As you go through the different categories of what to tweak and what to keep, you need to know how you personally feel, both emotionally and physically, when you are being led by inspiration. You also need to know how you feel when you are being led by fear and scarcity. These feelings have different physical feelings and different emotional attachments. And one thing that does not change regardless of the economy and other things going on in the world is that if you are not running your business through inspired action, then you are running it from desperation. 

Inspired action, plus positive expectations, equals inevitable results. I tell myself this all the time. It’s written on post-it notes all over my house. So, be aware of how you feel physically and how you feel emotionally when you are making all of the decisions for your business. Are you making them out of inspiration? Or are you making decisions out of fear and scarcity? Because decision making out of fear and scarcity is what leads you astray. 

I absolutely believe that where there are challenges there are opportunities. The groundwork you set by getting through a difficult time in your business is the same work that absolutely propels you forward when things open up more freely again. And the great news here is that these are the same exact things you should be doing even if and when you’re not having challenges in your business – the difference is during challenging times you have to stay more on top of them.

So the great news is, if you do this now, during a more challenging time, you are setting yourself up for massive, massive, massive success. The economy will ease up and things will get easier. We’ve been through this before, everything ebbs and flows. If you can do the work now while things are hard, it will propel you with a quantum leap forward when things are a little easier. 

For more tips on how to grow your business and conquer your goals, listen to the latest podcast episode.

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Erin Marcus

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Erin Marcus is an author, speaker and communications specialist helping organizations to “Conquer the Conversation,” and creating improvement in sales, customer service and team dynamics. To bring Erin to your event or business:

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