As a business coach, I have helped thousands of business owners make major business decisions. We have worked through major key hires, acquisitions, exit strategies, large equipment purchases and everything in between. And for many business owners, making a big business decision can be paralyzing. It's not uncommon to get caught up in the details of a choice, making it almost impossible to move towards a decision in a timely manner.
Which is why I want to share my six must ask questions to help reach a decision quickly.
1. What's the Worst Case Scenario?
This one question is perhaps the most powerful one in any business owners arsenal. No matter what your anxiety tells you, the majority of tough business decisions aren't permanent ones. For example, we had a business coaching client who was struggling with a big equipment purchase. He was going back and forth about whether to buy a $500,000 piece of manufacturing equipment that would triple his productivity. So I challenged him to think about the worst-case scenario.
He paused for a minute and then replied "Well, As long as we take care of the machine, I should be able to sell it for about 90 percent of what I paid for it new."
"So worst-case scenario, you lose $50,000 dollars?"
Suddenly the barrier to the decision was lifted and he could make the decision that his business needed.
2. What Information Are You Missing?
When faced with a big decision, you may be struggling because you lack all the relevant information needed to make that decision. So, by asking this question you are forcing yourself to look at the information presented and seek out the answer. Usually once this barrier is lifted, the decision will come easily.
3. Do You Absolutely Need That Information Or Would It Just Be Nice To Have?
On the same note, you want to decide if the information missing is critical to your decision or simply nice to have. This will help you narrow down your focus to seek out a decision quickly.
4. When Does It Need To Be Done By?
Avoid procrastination by giving yourself a hard and fast deadline in which to make a decision. Putting off a new hire or equipment purchase to expand can have lasting effects on your business, so create a plan to make a decision and stick to your timeline.
5. Is It Reversible?
This past year I had a business coaching client who was having trouble pulling the trigger on a new hire. She was worried about making the right decision, and whether her pick was the perfect fit for her company culture. I asked her: "is this hiring decision reversible?" She paused for a moment and then realized that although painful, it was.
She could always let that person go if she realized that it wasn't the right fit for her business. Suddenly the barrier to the decision was lifted and she could make the decision that her business needed quickly and without hesitation.
6. Is This Good Enough?
As an entrepreneur you strive for perfection. This stems from the deep-seated belief that if you can't do something good enough, you are better off just avoiding the task entirely.
The secret to overcoming these thoughts is to give yourself permission to not be perfect.
"It may not be the perfect solution to our problem, but it will work in the interim. And I can always adjust as needed."
So the next time you have a major business decision to make, ask yourself these six questions to overcome decision paralysis.