Running a business means being a decision maker. Whatever industry you set out to dominate, your main asset isn’t actually your expertise in this niche, it’s your ability to make the quick, effective decisions that drive success for your business. Whether you’re choosing a supplier for vital raw materials, deliberating over new hires or deciding on the future direction of the company, you need to the insight and clear thinking to make the choices that get the most for your company with the least outlay of resources.
A key part of this is recognising and shunning short termism – let’s go back to those new hires. In the short term you might be able get another warm body at a desk for less if you choose a less experienced candidate. You shouldn’t look at that saving on payroll as a victory though. Choosing the more experienced candidate, or the one with better skills or qualifications might mean paying more, but it also means bringing in someone who’s going to contribute more, grow more, and bring more value to your company, while you’re cheaper candidate simply doesn’t have the skillset to progress beyond the basic tasks you’ve hired them for.
You need to learn how to recognise a false economy and start avoiding them – yesterday!
You also need to learn to love data. It might be tempting to fly by the seat of your pants, to trust your business instincts and gut feeling, but those will only get you so far. You need to recognise that those much vaunted instincts are just what you’re calling your mind processing data. Without data, your gut feeling is simply working at random.
You can gather data to fuel your decision making process in lots of ways. Working with a market research company will help you understand how consumers view your company, using branding tracker surveys, make sure you’re appealing to the right consumers in the right way.
You can use internal data as well, from sales, from your customer service agents to optimise how those teams are working. They can also indicate problems elsewhere in the company: lots of calls to customer services could mean, at best, your site and products need to be more user friendly. At worst it could indicate a severe problem that’s going to cost you in refunds and compensation!
View everything as a source of data, you’ll have the raw material you need to make the best decisions possible for your company.