When making decisions about your business, do you rely on your instincts or prefer to analyze all the facts before committing to a plan? Whether you tend to “go with your gut” or research and assess every option, you’ll find the most successful businesses strike a balance in the middle.
Turning off your brain and letting your gut take charge sounds good in practice—but this method can cause you to make choices you’ll regret later, forming commitments that aren’t all they seem to be or missing opportunities you didn’t realize were available. Of course, going against your intuition can be challenging, too, often creating an inner tension as well as the potential for equally damaging mistakes. With pros and cons to both approaches, how do you find a middle ground?
If you’re someone who likes to plunge heart-first into the next opportunity
- Make sure you do your homework. If you’re considering a new business partnership, for example, take the time to look into their mission, management, and reputation. What sounds great in theory may not play out well in practice.
- Get a second Though your opinion matters, of course, if you constantly let your “gut feelings” trump all else, you’re likely to miss getting valuable input from those around you. Make your voice heard, but be sure not to drown out the thoughts of others. Others may notice flaws in the opportunity that you missed. Always ask your friends and colleagues—especially if you’re closing in on making a big decision.
- Have options. Intuition is a powerful tool, but decisions based on intangibles can have unpredictable consequences. So be sure to create a backup plan in case the options your instincts are leading you to don’t work out the way you expect.
If you’re someone who relies on facts and logic
- Know when to draw the line. Before making a move, many research-minded folks will gather data for months on end—long after the window to act has closed. Get the information you need to feel secure, but set a reasonable deadline for yourself and make a decision before one is made for you.
- Know your prio No situation is going to be perfect, and few opportunities have no unknowns. So don’t get bogged down in small details—focus on the big picture and the things that will actually make an impact on your .
- Tune in. Data-driven types often tune out their guts. When you’re done gathering info, spend some time alone—just you and your gut—and reflect on how you feel (not what you think) about the decision. Even if the perfect opportunity comes along, it still may not be a good fit for your business if it doesn’t sit well with you.
Decision-making can be a stress-inducing experience for even the most seasoned entrepreneur. After all, what are you to do when your gut says one thing, but the facts tell another story? So take a moment, consider the information objectively, and don’t discount the voice in your head telling you what you want.
Gut feeling stock photo by northallertonman/Shutterstock