Every day we are surrounded by the need to make decisions. The sheer multitude can be overwhelming, from the trivial “what should I make for dinner tonight?” to the triumphant, “should I invest in a storefront location for my home-based business?” When you’re an entrepreneur, these decisions are often made alone or in consultation with family or friends who while helpful, are not as invested (literally and figuratively) in the business as you are. Decision – making can be daunting.
Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield identified the ability to make a decision and stick to it as one of life’s five most critical skills. I couldn’t agree more and struggle daily to help instill this skill set in my children. Decision-making must be fostered from a very early age and parents should recognize that allowing a child to stomp her feet at age 4 and refuse to wear a coat in winter will help her to understand the consequence of that decision – that she’ll get pretty darn cold! Determining whether to attend College or University is more daunting than a coat crisis but the process remains essentially the same – it’s only the magnitude of the decision that varies.
My suggested Decision Making Model runs almost counter-intuitive to many other business theories that require a solid foundation upon which you should build your framework. That is, that in decision-making, you should be working from a top down approach. What is your ultimate goal or vision? If decision-making is about “identifying and choosing alternatives among several possibilities” (1) shouldn’t you know where you want to go first? It helps narrow down the field of choice. Once you have a clear goal, (your Destination) start determining all the necessary steps (your ROUTE) that you need to take in order to get there. Visualize this process as you would a road map. We know that we need to get to Indiana for a hockey tournament. Indiana is the goal. What steps need to be taken to get us there? Using a map we might plot several routes. We should ask ourselves questions to help more clearly define the route chosen based on criteria that is important to us: which route is fastest, do we want to see any sights along the way, will we travel during the day or at night? Knowing clearly and precisely what the final destination is allows us to make the smaller decisions required to get us there.
It’s the same with business decisions. Using our store-front analogy, if you run a cake business from home and your dream is a clearly visualized bakery window on a pretty main street in your home town, start working backwards from that to determine what you need to do in order to make it happen. There are a multitude of business models for decision-making but really, it’s this simple: “G.G.W.C.I.” – it’s not pretty as an acronym but the process is “Goal, Gather, Weigh, Choose, Implement.” Your goal is a storefront location. Gather means to collect information related to that goal – in other words, do your research. Is such a location available and if so what is the cost and should you lease or buy? These questions will lead you to undertake a full financial analysis. Do you generate enough income to cover the monthly expenses, how much take home income do you need to finance your preferred lifestyle and you’ll need staff, can you afford to hire someone? Once you’ve gathered all your facts, weigh your options (a good old fashioned “pro and con” list never goes out of style) then choose. Make your decision, implement and watch it flourish.
As an entrepreneur, being successful also means asking for help from experts. I’m not going to plan that trip to Indiana without consulting Google maps – why try to accomplish something alone when information already exists and is readily accessible? Successful entrepreneurs don’t just learn by doing, they learn from the success and failure of others. When you’ve got a decision to make ask for help, support and guidance from your financial advisor, your bank, even your local Small Business Centre. Certainly, one of the smartest decisions you can make when going solo, is to surround yourself with a “team” of experts that can provide this kind of assistance along the way.
Making a decision also takes time. If your GOAL was clearly defined in the first place, it will already have a timeline associated with it. Colonel Hadfield, in his book “An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth” also shares insight on the importance of being able to make a decision quickly. Sometimes, like when you are strapped into a rocket, you don’t have the luxury of time to make a mission critical decision. That’s the other reason it is so important to start practicing decision-making as a skill set from an early age. That and about a million simulator experiences will ensure you can make a decision in seconds flat if required to. For those of us just making the decision whether to drive to Indiana and not something as dramatic as flying into space, it could just mean knowing how to react to icy road conditions in an emergency. Regardless of what your decision is, the making of that decision is a journey. Having a clearly defined map will help get you there but only if you know where you want to go first!
Your G.G.W.C.I. “Road Map” – Sheralyn Roman
- GOAL- Your Destination
- GATHER – Do your research, pull out maps, determine who or what can help you get to your destination and how you want to get there, by car, plane, train? Having a firm timeline helps you not only to reach your destination but to do so effectively and efficiently.
- WEIGH your options: Which route is fastest and meets all my stated criteria and plan alternate routes in case of road-blocks.
- CHOOSE & IMPLEMENT– pack up the car and go! (Always plan for emergencies too by taking along your tool-kit. Literally and figuratively!)
Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.
As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed? Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.
Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.
Writing Right For You
Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!
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