I often times joke around and say that learning how to run a business is a lot like learning how to drive a car, you’re not going to learn by reading the manual. There are lots of things we learn the hard way, but the key to avoiding this in the future is to learn how to make better business decisions.
The art of making better business decisions affects every area of your work – from the people you hire to the projects you decide to take on. As such, it’s important to get in the habit of making good decisions early on. Here are some of the ways you can ensure that you’re making a good decision.
Are you making decisions from a place of integrity?
The best way to make better business decisions is to make them from a place of integrity. In fact, this should be the starting point for all of your business decisions.
If you want to make more money in the long run you need to have integrity. It’s easy to compromise our values for the money, but it doesn’t feel good and eventually the money stops coming.
One example that comes up a lot for beginning business owners is when they low ball themselves in an effort to get the gig. This results in a lot of work and little pay. Since the freelancer knows they should be getting paid much more, it also creates guilt (for not asking for more money) and resentment toward the client (for not paying you more).
Another example is when business owners are asked to do something they feel is unethical. People who aren’t strong enough in their own convictions will say yes for the money. Individuals who are strong enough to make decisions from a place of integrity will say no and make money some other way. (Speaking from experience, when making decisions from a place of integrity it sometimes seems as if the money shows up out of the blue.)
Another way of framing this is asking yourself if you’ll be able to sleep at night if you move forward with a decision.
How does it feel in your body?
Our body sometimes knows things before our intellect does. That’s why it can be a useful tool to help you make better business decisions.
For example, if you’re trying to make a decision and your body feels cramped, anxious and out-of-breath is could mean to say no. If, on the other hand, you feel light, excited and open then it’s usually a good sign.
Is it in line with your business goals?
I’ve mentioned the importance of getting clear about your business goals in the past, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you want to start making better business decisions it would help to determine where you actually want your business to go. You can then use this as your map t make decisions as time goes on.
Here are some excellent resources for helping you make a business plan:
- Small Business Administration
- How to Make a Business Plan
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
You can also start with a mind-map excersice and just brain dump everything that comes to mind for your business growth. From there you can begin to pick the next most logical steps.
You’ll also want to cross check your business goals with your integrity and your body to make sure you’re choosing the next best right action.
Making better business decisions comes with experience and time, but there are some practical ways that you can make better decisions even if you are just starting out. Just remember to check in with your integrity, your body and your business goals.