Decision-making for business owners – made easy

by: May 19, 2015

Decision making agility

“A business succeeds or fails based on the quality of the decisions it makes”. True or not? Well perhaps partially, but I would suggest that speed of decision-making and amazing execution are more critical.

Every successful business I’ve come across has people leading it who are good at making decisions. Surprisingly perhaps, these are not always the best decisions. But they evaluate the facts at their disposal, weigh up the options, use their judgement and decide – usually pretty quickly. Then they implement impeccably.

Yet it’s not unusual for people to have great difficulty, making business decisions. Quite often they want more and more information, wider input from a variety of experts and non-experts, and greater cogitation time. Eventually, if they do finally make a decision, they discover that a) they’ve lost first-mover advantage (because quicker decision-makers are already there), and b) it’s often not the best decision they could have made anyway.

One of the major benefits for SMEs competing against larger businesses is agility, and that usually boils down to rapid decision-making and quick action. So it’s a critical skill.

How do you break decision-making paralysis?

  1. Recognise that your business is just as likely to fail through a lack of decision-making as it is as a result of a poor decision.
  2. It’s like going on a journey from A to B. Provided you start out and monitor your progress, you’ll soon work out whether you’re on the right route or not – then you can modify direction as you go along. If you stay where you are, you’ll never know.
  3. The implementation and execution of the decision is often more important than the decision itself. Focus on making that truly excellent.
  4. You’ll rarely be able to make a 100% informed decision. And the effort and energy to get from 50-70% to 99% usually outweighs the potential benefit of the decision – in any case the world will have changed by the time you make a slow decision.
  5. Is there really any choice or are you just procrastinating? If it needs to be done, just do it.
  6. For those really critical business decisions, take soundings from people who are true experts and who share your goals.


Fear of making the wrong decision is what holds many people up. Perhaps fear of not making a decision should be more important, as businesses that don’t, or delay excessively, usually stagnate.


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About Author

Paul is Zonata's founder and MD. He has a true passion for business and is massively excited by the opportunities that Zonata provides for its clients and partners. He loves helping owner-managed businesses be exceptionally successful, and enjoys the phenomenal quality of the people who work with him.

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