8 key questions to avoid business decision blunders

As a business owner, you’re making decisions daily. Most of which are likely to be “small” decisions. They are decisions you make regularly and decisions that have a predictable result.

What about the “bigger” decisions? These are the decisions concerning the purchase of expensive equipment, the hiring or firing of an employee, the investment of money into marketing or how to deal with a serious customer issue. Such decisions can carry greater consequences. So, how can you avoid business blunders?

Quite simply, you have to ask yourself the right 8 questions.

 1. Am I doing this for the right reasons?

Before making a decision, identify “why” you are making it. Many tradies expand their team because their mate has, or because they think that “bigger is better” (when it isn’t necessarily). Ask yourself, am I making this decision out of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), driven by ego or because this decision is genuinely the right one for my business at this point in time.

2. Is this aligned with my business objective?

Purchasing a “new toy”, such as a mini excavator, (rather than hiring one) just because you require it for a one-off job needs a little more consideration. Do you have the need for a mini excavator when you consider your ‘normal’ line of work? Do you have plans to sub-contract the mini excavator to your industry so that you make back money? Don’t just buy the new toy just because there’s an immediate need. Give thought to if it is aligned with your business objectives.

3. Is this a priority?

It’s important that the decisions you are making are actually the decisions you should be prioritising. It’s easy to avoid making hard decisions by wasting time on insignificant ones. The priority tasks you must consider are ones addressing major issues or challenges in your business, ones that will heavily improve you teams performance or will assist your well being (never undervalue your health!).

4. Can I afford this?

Next, you must consider the affordability of your decision. Look at your financial statements, with the help of your accountant, and assess the costs and benefits of your decision. You may decide the rewards you reap from a decision outweigh the costs. Keep in mind these rewards may be financial rewards, or perhaps they could be wellbeing benefits. For example, if you’re struggling with your admin work, it’s causing you a large amount of stress and costing you time with your family, then outsourcing your admin tasks may be well worth the cost.

5. What could go wrong?

With every decision you need to consider the risk involved. What could possibly go wrong? What could you do if this were to happen? List what these could be, whether you are willing to accept these implications, and whether these implications are really as bad as they appear.

6. Is there a better alternative?

Is there a better option? Instead of asking ‘this or that’, consider ‘if I can’t get that, what solution could work?’. For example, ‘do I hire that new person or not?’, instead ask yourself ‘If I can’t hire that new person, how can we cover the work within the team I already have?’.

In considering alternatives, it’s great to talk to a mentor or another tradie mate about their experiences. The Lifestyle Tradie members have a closed member-only Facebook group where they ask these questions and the feedback from the other members, many of whom have had to make similar decisions, is priceless.

7. Am I too emotionally connected to the outcome?

As a business owner it’s really easy to make a un-biased decision simply based on what you ‘want’ the outcome to look like. In the decision making process you can therefore easily seek out opinions and proof that support your decision, affirmation that what you want is the right decision. What’s important is to see the decision in its entirety. Remove yourself, emotionally, from the decision at hand, and give consideration to all angles.

8. Am I being over confident in my decision?

You’ve been working this industry for a long time. It goes without saying that at times we are super confident about our predications. Like having an opinion ‘It will be really easy to sub-contract a mini excavator to other tradies’. Do you know this for sure? or just a hunch?

The thing is, ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. It is therefore critically important to conduct the research before making any decision.

Once the decision has been made you have to live with it

Progress only happens when decision are made and action can be taken. It’s for this reason that the right facts are considered, with a healthy distance and in consideration of all your options. Even doing this, you can still be wrong. 
It’s at this point you re-consider your options to change direction.

Regardless, it is important to reflect on the process and learn from the experience. It’s how we gain more confidence in our decision making. Leaning on the other Lifestyle Tradie members from all across Australia certainly helps to make decisions with certainty.

Guide your decisions with education

Like every industry, the trade industry is ever-evolving and it can be difficult to keep on top of the latest marketing and business strategies. Continue to absorb information (like you are right now!) by reading this article, or do so by attending educational events such as our Next Level Tradie live events.

What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.