Making decisions is part of the job description when you’re running a business. And sometimes, those decisions are difficult to make.  

Maybe it’ll have huge consequences for your future, maybe it’ll affect other people, or maybe it’s just a bad situation with no clear winners or losers. No matter the situation, a decision still has to be made. 

If you find situations like these difficult to manage, there are some simple tricks you can learn to handle them. This guide will share some actionable tips to help you improve your decision-making in business, including:

  • Gather more information.
  • Get the right people involved.
  • Don’t choose the path of least resistance.
  • Think of what’ll happen if you don’t make a decision.
  • Stop looking for the “perfect solution”.
  • Set a short deadline.
  • Find somebody to disagree with you.
  • Use the rule of ten.
  • Listen to all three brains.
  • Sleep on it.

Gather more information

To quote David G. Ullman (Twelve Steps to Robust Decisions), “The solution of most problems is the evolution of information punctuated by decisions.”

In practical terms, this means that the best decision is one that’s backed up with information. Before making your decision, try to find out:

  • All of your options.
  • The consequences of those options. 
  • Who will be affected by your decision? 
  • The resources needed for each decision. 

It might help to break down the decision-making process into these four questions:

  • What is the best alternative?
  • Do you know enough to make a good decision?
  • What would you need to feel confident about your decision?
  • What does the rest of your team think about each option?

More often than not, questions like these are actually floating around in our unconscious minds anyway, so breaking them down into individual parts can be useful.

Get the right people involved

Don’t try to make every decision on your own, but don’t just ask anybody for their opinion. 

Instead, think carefully about who’s opinion will add value. This could mean asking experts, stakeholders, or other business owners.

Remember, nobody is objective. Every opinion you hear will be affected by each individual’s personal biases. 

Don’t choose the path of least resistance

When a difficult decision is stressing you out, it can be tempting to choose the easiest path. But this shouldn’t be your default position. 

Sometimes the best decision is the hardest, so don’t shy away from tough choices because it’s easier or keeps everybody else happy. 

What will happen if you don’t make a decision?

Too often, people worry about the outcomes of one decision or another. It’s a reasonable reaction that stems from a fear of failure. But few people consider the outcome of making no decision at all. 

Usually, doing nothing at all is the worst thing you can do, so use that scenario to add a little pressure, forcing you into action. 

Stop looking for the “perfect” solution

Most of the time, there won’t be a perfect decision that makes everybody happy. 

Unfortunately, even the best decisions can have unintended negative consequences, but that’s normal. Don’t stress too much about what might have been, for the sake of your own mental health.

Instead, focus all of your energy on the decision you have made. Then, once you’ve chosen a plan, make sure you execute that plan to the best of your ability. 

Set a short deadline

The longer you put off a decision, the harder it will be to pull the trigger. Don’t rush into anything, but don’t give yourself enough time for doubt to start creeping in. 

Set yourself a short deadline, and tell those around you that that’s when you’ll make your decision. Again, adding a little bit of pressure will force you to confront the issue, gather the information you need, and make a confident decision.

Find somebody to disagree with you

If you want to see different sides of the argument, assign somebody to disagree with you. 

Their job isn’t to come up with a better solution. They’re there to pick holes in your reasoning, allowing you to see things from a different perspective. 

Doing this is a great way to get out of your head and think of all the possible outcomes. 

Use the rule of ten

To help see the long-term impacts of a decision, a lot of business owners use the “rule of ten”. When trying to make a decision, ask yourself, what will be the effects of this decision in:

  • Ten days.
  • Ten months.
  • Ten years. 

Think about each scenario and whether or not you’d be happy with the results. In other words, over the long-run, how will each decision help you achieve your professional and personal objectives?

Listen to all three brains

Not three literal brains, but the three different parts of your brain. When you try to make decisions, you’re usually considering from three different perspectives: 

  • The head (for logic, analysis, and reason)
  • The heart (for compassion and values)
  • The gut (your basic instincts)

Figure out which part of your brain should be driving the decision you’re making, then listen to that part. 

Sleep on it

Making a big decision can be stressful and tiring, and nobody makes good decisions when they’re tired.

If you’ve been stressing out all day, and you’ve still gotten nowhere close to a decision, just take a break. A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your brain. The next morning you’ll be able to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. 

Make the right decision for your finances

Some business decision are difficult, but choosing easier financial management is a no-brainer

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.