The days seem to fly by most of the time, when you’re running a business. You go into work, catch up with all of your emails, putting out fires here and there while you continue the endless search for new opportunities to promote your business… and then one day something really big comes across your desk.
Whether it’s a new investor who’s really interested in your company, or the chance to move into a new building, making big decisions in business requires some careful thought before you dive in. The following checklist outlines a couple of steps you should take before signing off on any big decision.
1. Do Your Due Diligence
There’s no substitute for doing your homework. Anyone who has ever embarked on a venture or project of any kind without doing the research first, either made a mistake or got really lucky.
There is something to be said for gut feeling, but even then, you must have some idea of what you’re getting into before you make a decision. The truth is that people will try to pull one over on you; it’s unfortunate, but that’s the world we live in.
Sometimes, it’s not even malicious trickery; you may miss out on something simply because you didn’t know it was there—because you didn’t do your due diligence. Imagine that you are entering into a contract with a new vendor with whom you are not familiar and they happen to “leave out” the fact that they gave someone before you a better price for the same thing.
You could say that’s a lie of omission, but either way, it’s ultimately on you if you don’t educate yourself before entering into any relationship or contract.
2. Seek Counsel
Here’s a big one that we’re all guilty of at times, and that’s especially true for business owners because of their tendency to be very self-reliant—even to a fault.
When you’re about to sign off on a big move that seems like a no-brainer, why would you consult with anyone, right? Generally, if you know your business, you can probably make sound decisions this way; but, what can it hurt to seek counsel first.
In fact, this is why it’s great to have a partner. When you’re about to make a really dumb deal, your partner can tell you, “No, that’s dumb. Don’t do that.” Even if it’s your Mom, it’s never a bad idea to run it by someone first.
3. Trust Your Instincts
It’s a dangerous thing to say: “Just trust your instincts.” First of all, I’m not saying just shoot from the hip all the time, never taking a second thought for what you’re doing and just trusting that everything will turn out alright.
That is most likely not going to work if you’re running a business. The point is that when you have done the research, sought out a second opinion, and you just can’t seem to decide one way or another—it’s at this point that you should just rely on your gut instinct.
Instead of going back to the drawing board or letting someone else tell you what to do, the best course of action might be to just go with your gut.