How to make good business decisions
Following your gut is no way to make business decisions...or is it? What is needed when making an educated business decision? Sound data, detailed analysis, a solid framework and working foundation...right? Big wig business people don't make multi-million dollar decisions on a gut-feel, I'm sure. Well, after 6 years of running this business, I beg to differ. I may not be a "big wig business person" and may not be Ivy-league educated, but over the years, I have found myself making some pretty major, life-altering (and business changing) decisions.
I remember years back when I would turn to Oprah for my daily dose of inspiration (I DVRed her, as there was no chance of watching a daily afternoon tv show). Anyhow, there are many episodes that come to mind when the guest would reference this 'voice in their head', 'just a feeling' or intuition. So many of them saying they wished they would have listened, but shook it off as it wasn't logical. Which brings me to something my husband would say it SUPER important, logic (defined by Wikipedia as the use of valid reasoning in some activity). Of course you would use valid reasoning when making a huge, life-changing decision. But what if there is good reasoning for either decision? What if the logic says one thing, but your gut says the other?
I speak for me personally, as I know this statement is likely to garner criticism, but in business, I have learned that my gut wins. In retrospect, when my gut has told me not do to something and I decided otherwise, I paid the price...and vice versa. Take for instance the decision to follow my dream and start a business. I was employed in real estate (in 2006...the heyday!). My work day started at 10am, who gets to do that?? The money was ridiculous and my opportunities were limitless. I should be loving life. The logic says stay. My gut said run, run, as far as you can...and just go for it. All through college when my friends wanted to be doctors & lawyers, my little voice kept telling me to do something different, I just couldn't quite understand what. My path was not clear, which made logical decision making a bit difficult. It was when I finally listened to my gut, and did A LOT of prayer, that my answer was crystal clear.
Sometimes in life, your answer does not seem logical. Do you have the opportunity to move hundreds of miles away? Leave your friends, family, and everything you have worked so hard to build? Your parents think it is the wrong decision, but your gut keeps telling you it is right? How to you clear the noise and make the 'right' decision? I remember when I was on the Anderson Show with Sara Blakely. She was telling the story of when she started Spanx. She said she waited for a year before telling anyone her idea. She knew this is what she was supposed to do and did not want to hear their opinions. While I did not go that route, it makes so much sense. Clearly there are major life decisions when you need the opinion of your loved ones, but I truly think sometimes your gut is so clear that you just have to listen. When I told my dad that I wanted to start RuffleButts, his 1st response was "Why on Earth would you want to start an apparel company? What's to stop anyone from copying what you do?" He was completely right and I knew it, but I still knew, deep down, that this is what I was supposed to do. Sometimes our best decisions are not the most logical; sometimes the very best decisions are the ones that come from within.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm certainly not saying to throw logic out the window and make brash decisions doing whatever you want. I'm also not saying to disregard the opinion of your loved ones. I think logic is super important, as is family. What I am saying is that sometimes the gut tells us exactly what to do. Just be sure you are listening.