None of us knows what is going to happen in the future. And yet we are constantly making decisions that are based on what we think is going to happen in the future.
I was talking to a client today about how they should structure their companies (they operate a charity and a trading company). The answer lies in what they want to achieve, and to work backwards from there. The answer may be wrong, but the premise they base the decision on will be right.
When faced with a difficult decision, I learnt a long time ago that the best way of deciding was to toss a coin, having decided what to do if the coin lands heads up (it works best if there are only two possible solutions!). The hard bit is to listen to the little voice in your head that tells you whether you are glad, or sorry, with the result. Rather than go with the coin, always trust your gut reaction to the result.
This would suggest that we know what to do all along; it’s just that too often other factors crowd our thinking, making decisions harder to reach.
Even in business, unless there are compelling reasons to take one course of action over another, there seems to be a lot of sense in going back to the reasons why you are in business, remembering what you want to achieve, and start from there.
Having talked us into the recession, the media now seem to want to own the next hot topic of how to “get back on our feet”. I don’t know what depresses me more, that they think this is a good idea, or that they think they thought of it first.
Good practice can often equate to common sense and a firm view of what you think is best. Compromise and equivocation are often the worst enemies to battle with, as they lead to indecision and/or bad decisions.
So perhaps it’s worth reading the “self help” guides now emerging, and hopefully you will be able to say that you are doing the right things already. If you are not, then get some help – fast.
I think it was Scott Peck who started a book with the great line “Life is difficult”. Talking to someone today, it was clear that they faced a really tough choice. They have steadily grown their business and have reached a size where they now need some proper financial expertise, but feel too small to justify the additional cost. If their plans take longer to come to fruition than planned they will be out of pocket, if they take someone on board they will be out of pocket until they realise their earning potential; either way they are currently peddling like mad to keep on top of the paperwork.
This kind of decision is very common, and it’s no consolation for me to suggest that there is no right answer. Growing a business does not follow a straight line, it’s like climbing stairs; you either take the step up, or stay where you are. And when you are carrying a heavy load, the effort to step up feels huge, with no guarantee it will be worthwhile.
Life is difficult, but if you are contemplating such a step, there is only one way to find out if it’s right for you…