Have you done your research? What does the data say? Have you analysed your financials, customer metrics and marketing efficiency?
There is so much data available about your business and your industry that sometimes you can hit a decision-making brick wall.
Have you heard of analysis paralysis? It’s when anxiety about getting one further level of information stops you from moving your business forward.
Sometimes you need to take a deep breath, step back and trust your instincts.
Here are some key times when you need to listen to your inner voice and allow it to be the final decision maker.
Starting a business
Starting a business is one of those times when every wannabe soloist has had to trust his or her instincts and just jump. It’s also one of the likeliest times to be struck with analysis paralysis.
You’ve done your research, assessed your market, crunched your financials, but you’re still craving one last piece of information that’ll make your decision clear. Stop waiting. You will never have all the answers and will never be able to eliminate all risk – unless you have a crystal ball that is, in which case I’m buying whatever you’re selling!
Engaging a new supplier
Listen to your inner voice.
Risk can’t be totally eliminated contractually, and both sides need to feel comfortable that the business relationship will survive teething problems without always resorting to the letter of the contract. Of course, the price and acceptable terms and conditions need to be negotiated, but you are about to embark on a relationship, and one that will involve trust. So trust your instincts.
Choosing a business partner
Instincts are even more important when choosing a business partner. You need to be sure that, even if you have differing skills and experience, that your approach to business, your ethics and integrity are all similar.
By the time you choose your business partner you should have had numerous conversations, but sometimes it’s the things that aren’t said that you really should be listening to.
Psychologist Paul Ekman actually devised a ‘Facial Coding System’ to interpret all those involuntary facial expressions that you unconsciously analyse whilst speaking to someone. This is another reason why you often come away from face to face meetings far more enlightened than with phone meetings.
When to trust your instincts? It’s not about throwing caution to the wind
Effective intuition is based on experience, so you still need to make sure you do your research and always keep learning from past situations.
Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking argues that your intuition is actually your brain drawing on its wealth of experience and knowledge, and rapidly processing all the information to come to a ‘snap’ decision. So when you are finding it difficult to move forward, don’t let fear hold you back.
Finally, don’t forget to give yourself a chance to hear your inner voice. Take a break, go for a walk and step away from the problem. The right decision just might become abundantly clear.
What are your thoughts on when to trust your instincts?