Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Undecided Too Often? A Quick Guide to Making Business Decisions That Rock

One of the most consistent patterns I've seen with the business owners I've met over the last few years, is that they rather mercilessly second-guess themselves. Over nearly everything. If they held an event, they wonder if it was too early on, or if they had the right speaker or program. If they've taken on all their business tasks themselves, they wonder if they should have hired an assistant. Or if they did hire someone who didn't work out, they resolve never to take this step again, as if the problem were destined to repeat itself.

The worst part of all this, is that we can end up being stalled, not only in our businesses, but in other aspects of our lives as well. No decision often becomes The Decision. Or, in a frenzied rush to take action, we move forward when we're not ready, and ironically, that takes us backward yet again!

So, here's a quick miniguide to help you establish a framework for making the best decisions possible for your business.

1. Financial
Quite simply, can you afford this decision, whether it's a relocation, a new piece of equipment, or even a business trip? If not, is there a way your budget can be restructured so that you allow for this decision, while perhaps postponing or even re-evaluating another expense?

2. Human
Do you have the human resources to handle this added task, whether it an event or blogging, a new publication or a new program? If you don't have the staff or the budget, chances are you will have to wait on it, or find a creative funding source.

3. Creative
Is what you are planning creative, original, and unique, or does it resemble many other projects you've already seen? Why recreate the wheel when you can be original and present your own unique take on things? If you don't have the time or resources to be creative or to staff a new endeavor, hold off until you do. Your follows and stakeholders will appreciate your fresh approach when the time is right.

4. Relevant
Are your members/subscribers/stakeholders as interested in your publication, event, or program, as you are? If you aren't sure, you could risk losing your audience by launching into a new project without the most important info of all -- what your constituents will say about it. Develop systems for surveying your members, so that you get accurate info on their preferences and priorities. Survey monkey, Constant Contact, and Google all offer free or low cost survey tools.

5. Media Ready
Many business owners don't realize that free promotion and advertising through PR is a great way to get your message out. The work for your publicist, or yourself, or if you hired someone like me, is to create buzz around your product or service, generating stories and interviews.

PR Questions to ask yourself before launching your next event or product:
-Is it easily tweetable and shareable?
-Does it have local relevance and reflect a larger national trend?
-If the media contact is not you, is there someone who can be your spokesperson and press liaison?
-Are there photos and video to go along with your press release?
- Can you write an effective press release, or hire a writer?

These are just a few guidelines to help you define and clarify your decision-making. I'm sure there are more criteria that I missed, so feel free to add them in the comments!

No comments: