How to Make Big Decisions for Your Business
Big decisions are something that every business leader has to make at some point or another. The consequences of those decisions, either negative or positive, are what can keep you awake at night.
In the history of my career and as CEO of Filter Butler, I’ve faced many decisions where I have questioned whether my choices would be wrong, how profound they would be, and how they would impact the company and its employees.
The thing is, in today’s fast-paced business environment thinking that a decision is irreversible can wreak havoc on a company. Being wrong is just something that comes with the territory; it’s how you adapt to your calculated decisions that helps you progress as a business.
Here are some factors I always consider before making any big decisions for my business:
- Refer back to your system of triage
In healthcare, the term triage refers to the process of sorting injured people into groups based on their need or likely benefit from immediate medical treatment. To put this in business terms, it means that there is always a pecking order in which decisions should be based.
At Filter Butler, the focus of our decisions is based on our vision of providing pure, clean and healthy water to homeowners and businesses. Working backwards from this standard of highest importance, we can put other business decisions into a pecking order and see how they align with our main goal.
- Worst and best case scenarios
Looking at what happens if you are dead wrong or spot on will help to provide some perspective on the short and long-term consequences of your business decision no matter which direction they take. If the worst-case scenario were to occur, how badly would it affect your company and its path to growth?
Also, if your big decision is right, is it worth the risk compared to the worst-case scenario? Is there some middle ground that would help your decision find some more neutral area that would buy you more time/data/resources?
- Reflect on past big decisions
Because your big business decision is probably not your first and won’t be your last, try and reflect on any previous big decisions you have made and how they turned out. What did you learn last time that you can apply to this new decision?
- Address uncertainty head on
As humans we are naturally positive and have a tendency to think that things will always work out. When it comes to a big decision-making process, consider the intangibles of your business decision. For example, we know that when traveling, delays are possible. What we don’t know is how long those delays will last or when and where they will happen. How will these unknowns – the certainty of uncertainty – factor into your decision?
- What are your alternatives?
One of the last questions to ask yourself before you make a big decision is if there are any other alternatives? Either by yourself or with your team, can you brainstorm other alternative solutions that have been evaluated in an objective way? When trying to solve a problem has your team based their final decision on evidence that supports it?
In the end, big business decisions can be made smaller if you add a bit of logic and reasoning to your process. Applying this type of quality-control will give you a better chance of minimizing failure and helping to reflect upon any “wrongs” that may need to be addressed.
Daniel MacDonald, CEO of Filter Butler
Like you, entrepreneur and business expert Daniel MacDonald is intensely focused on success. As CEO of one of Canada’s Hot Top 50 Startups by Profit Magazine, Daniel is an expert on the topics of management, business operations, marketing and entrepreneurship. Daniel has also served as member of the exclusive Entrepreneurs’ Organization, on the leadership team of Sinai Hospital in Toronto and supports various causes like the White Knight Foundation (an organization dedicated to stopping unprovoked youth violence).
After graduating from McGill University of Montreal, Daniel successfully established Greenlife Water in 2010. Within only a few years, Greenlife Water was acknowledged by Profit Magazine and is listed as one of Canada’s Hot Top 50 Startups. As a second generation entrepreneur, Daniel seemingly has hustle built into his DNA.
In his spare time, Daniel enjoys being active and often spends time running, playing badminton, soccer and basketball.