It’s a bit concerning how many new entrepreneurs are looking outside for solutions to their tough problems. That seems to be the default these days. Is it insecurity, fear, lack of grit? Maybe a little bit of each.
Of the thousands of tough business decisions I’ve observed entrepreneurs make over the last three decades, 99 percent didn’t need or depend on outside advice.
The point is that you have the answer at least 99 percent of the time.
My concern is entrepreneurs looking “outside” for their answers, when the solution is almost always “inside” (you and/or your company).
Let me explain why.
When faced with a tough decision, you must consider countless factors. These include things such as your vision, your plan, your culture, your core values, your business, your pricing, timing, your growth trajectory, your customers’ wants and needs, and your economic situation, to name a few. These factors make up the filter you need to use to make the right decision for your company.
Only you know these factors intimately. Therefore, you can typically make the right long-term decision. Outsiders will give you their fly-by advice, based on their experience, having known you and your company only a short while. So, you have to be careful.
If I’ve learned anything in 30 years of business working with entrepreneurs, it’s that there’s more than one solution to every problem and one size does not fit all.
Now, here’s where it gets tricky.
Getting advice from others is good. And necessary. It’s just that you have to run all of that advice through your filter (see above) and decide. Because, if you take everyone’s advice and do everything in every book you read and video you watch, you will be out of business quickly. It will twist you in a knot.
For instance, you might be faced with the following issue where a supplier/vendor of yours might be extremely challenging as well as overcharging you. Well, looking from the outside, it’s a simple solution: Fire them, and replace them tomorrow.
Well, the fact might be that this will put you out of business, because they might be the only supplier, they might be holding you hostage, or they are also supplying your biggest competitor.
The right solution might be a methodical one-year transition plan to bring that expertise in-house or for you to develop another supplier from scratch, because that makes the most strategic sense based on your unique situation (your filter). And, as a result, you will suffer for a year but be way ahead 10 years from now.
Business decisions are tough and require deep thought and understanding.
The Marine Corps offers a decision-making discipline called the “70 percent solution” for making a tough decision: If you have 70 percent of the information and 70 percent of the resources and are 70 percent confident, then make the tough decision.
There’s a funny, true story about a very well-known, very successful entrepreneur who would assemble a board of 10 “very smart” people. He would bounce his ideas off them. When seven out of 10 hated it, he knew he had a winner. When 10 out of 10 hated it, he knew his idea was revolutionary.
I hope this helps.
Take 30 minutes right now and think about one tough decision you are facing right now that you can apply these lessons to.
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