Decision-making is something that few people love doing constantly. However, when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s just part of the package. When making a lot of decisions daily, they can become overwhelming and sometimes blur together. This can make it harder to make better decisions.
We asked for tips on how to combat this, and the answers given by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council were descriptive and helpful. Try implementing some of these the next time you’re faced with an overwhelming number of decisions to make.
Q. The day-to-day demands most entrepreneurs face involve a wide scope of questions to answer and decisions to make. In order to stay on track, and to avoid extended cases of indecision, what’s one way you have learned to make better decisions quicker?
Their best answers are below:
Recognize the Dangers of Indecision
It is important to recognize that you do not have time to get all the facts for the dozens of decisions you should make each day. Instead, you need to gather just enough information to make sound decisions so your company can move forward. Some of those decisions will be wrong, but it is better to learn from those mistakes and try again than to be immobilized by indecision. – Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC
Know It’s Trial and Error
The more you find yourself facing repeatable tasks or answering similar questions, the more you understand how to address those tasks and efficiently make decisions. Identify the items that continue to present themselves and evaluate the best way to handle them. Once you do this, those become quick and easy to cross off the to-do list. – Shawn Schulze, Names.org
Ask ‘Does it Really Matter?’
Ask yourself if it really matters. Chances are, it is not as critical of a decision as you think it is. If it is a major strategic decision or a decision needed to make a client successful or not, then that is up to you to make the right call. Trust your instincts if they’ve taken you this far. If you find that you are second guessing yourself or a team member, then there is likely a bigger issue at stake. – Brandon Pindulic, OpGen Media
Give Yourself a Finite Amount of Time
Whenever I encounter a situation that requires a fast decision, I give myself a finite amount of time to make it, which is 24 hours. If I don’t give myself a deadline, then I know I will procrastinate making it. – Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC
Fight Decision Fatigue
Decision fatigue is real. Don’t get sucked into it by making small decisions quickly. Whether you are deciding what to have for breakfast or whether you should hire a new team member, each decision requires you to think and take action. If you can get quicker about making small decisions, you can train yourself to come up with prompt answers to larger ones. Give yourself 30 to 45 seconds, for example, to decide whether you want coffee or juice, and then commit to it. Do the same for other inconsequential choices. In time, you will train your brain to quickly respond to things that have much greater weight. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
Let the Most Informed Person Make the Decision
At my company, I ask employees to rely on their expertise to make decisions. Whereas other companies often require employees to run most decisions up the ladder, I believe that the people closest to the problem are best equipped to find the appropriate solution. This frees up my time to focus on decisions only I can make, and it also builds trust between me and my employees. – Sean Harper, Kin Insurance
Choose Only the Best Opportunities to Pursue
There’s a cost to pursuing every opportunity that comes your way; you lose focus and aren’t able to effectively invest enough time and resources into the select channels that will drive the most value for your company. To make faster decisions, pass on anything that doesn’t offer high ROI. Anything less isn’t worth your time. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
Implement the 80-20 Rule
Low-risk decisions should be made quickly about 80 percent of the time. High-risk decisions should be made quickly only 20 percent of the time. That will help to prioritize how much time is spent on strategy versus doing the actual work. Also, having templates for decision-making really helps. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
Find Decision-Making Advisers
Create a tribe of people you respect to help you make decisions. As soon as you are faced with a tough decision, schedule time with the right adviser and be prepared to share the situation, present the facts and analysis, and propose the solution. Your adviser’s role is to hold you accountable for making a decision during that time and ensuring that you actually follow through. – Saloni Doshi, Eco Enclose, LLC
Be Blunt and Eliminate Emotion
The simplest answer is often the best. Too many people dance around a topic because they are afraid of coming off to forward, politically incorrect, or as a know it all. If you want to give meaningful, impactful advice, don’t be afraid to tell people it how it is. – Phil Laboon, WUDN
Always Be Reading
I’m often reading articles to stay up to date with my industry, which I believe has made me a faster decision maker. When it comes to making a decision, I’m often able to remember something that I read, which makes it easier to arrive at a conclusion. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
Don’t Fear Wrong Decisions
The fear of failure or of making the ‘wrong’ decision is what holds many people back. If you recognize that there is no real failure, only learning experiences, you have no reason to fear bad decisions. Make the best choice using the information you have and recognize that it’s impossible to foresee every outcome. Once you remove the fear of failure, decision-making becomes a lot simpler. – Shawn Porat, Scorely
Understand that Time Kills Most Deals
The most important thing to remember is that, in most decisions, delaying and procrastinating does more damage than making the actual decision. There’s no way around the fact that growing a company requires fast decision-making and an ability to make decisions when information may be scarce or uncertain. It’s OK for leaders to be wrong, but it’s not OK to be behind the curve. – Richard Lorenzen, Fifth Avenue Brands
Create a Set of Rules
You should have a solid set of rules for how to make decisions. For instance, when hiring engineering consultants or employees, I make it a rule that they have to have at least some similar experience, have successful products released in the market, and have demonstrated experience working with our technology stack, etc. Saying they ‘could’ figure it out doesn’t cut it for me. – Andy Karuza, FenSens
Shift Mental Gears
If I find myself struggling to make an important decision promptly, I’ll get up from of my desk and start moving. I might engage in some light exercise or I’ll just pace around the office. Engaging in physical activity is a great way to increase mental focus, as it forces your brain to switch gears like a car. After a few moments of doing this, I’m usually able to come to a prompt decision. – Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT
Use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix
A huge help for me was learning to think of things along the two axes in the Eisenhower Decision Matrix: urgency and importance. Too often, people confuse the two and default to doing urgent things in favor of important things. When I got really fast at determining what’s important versus what is urgent, prioritizing became obvious and extremely fast. Decisions that are both urgent and important are done immediately, and important decisions that aren’t urgent are done as soon as is convenient. Unimportant decisions are delegated. I’ve found that more than half the decisions I was taking time to make were ultimately unimportant and were better made by someone closer to the problem anyway. Making my decisions this way freed up a ton of time and allowed me to act faster on important things. – Brennan White, Cortex
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.