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Four Tips for Avoiding Analysis Paralysis in Business

And how we applied them to make a BIG move for our company!!

Today we have more choices and strategic information at our fingertips than ever before. We want to make sure we’re making the right moves at the right time, while doing the due diligence to vet every potential decision we could pursue.

With so many questions, options, and factors to consider, making business decisions can be challenging. But in a rapidly changing economy, we don’t have time to waste. Markets are the most competitive they have ever been, and business decision-makers must think and act quickly and assertively to ensure their businesses aren’t affected by inaction.

Analysis paralysis – or being paralyzed by the number of choices or directions available – can keep us from making decisions altogether, which is often worse than making the “wrong” one. When we over-analyze, we can lose out on opportunities, for ourselves and our businesses.

For example, take a recent decision we had to make at The SLC Group. I’ve been fascinated by Profit First for years, and the cash flow geek in me has been dying to join forces with their exclusive membership organization, Profit First Professionals. I don’t just want to be familiar with Profit First. I don’t just want to recommend the book to clients and answer questions from a bird’s eye view. I want to be immersed in it, learning and applying the methodology from every angle, and I want to be coaching from that framework on an intimate level, day in and day out, with a team of other professionals at my back.

Membership in Profit First Professionals is, of course, an investment – as it should be. The training and certification process is rigorous, and I know I’ll need to dedicate consistent time, money, and intellectual bandwidth to implementing PFP systems in my own business and developing myself as a Profit First advisor for other entrepreneurs. The demands on these precious resources are almost certain to strain already tight budgets, which has me asking a lot of tough questions.

Is now the right time? Is PFP the right fit, or are there other less-demanding professional organizations that would serve me just as well? Will this route be the best for my company now and in the future, or would it bring progress today while creating issues I need to deal with later? What are the opportunity costs? Knowing the move will be a stretch, do I have the flexibility to lean into it? And what if it doesn’t pan out? Do I have the resources and resilience to pivot in response?

Like my clients, I want to be making strong, well-informed decisions swiftly and with confidence – without getting so swept up in the minutia that I miss out on opportunities that will move me closer to my goals. With so many choices to make, and with so many of them having such a lasting impact on my company, it would be all too easy to keep treading water. Waiting for more time, more money, more clarity.

So how do we avoid analysis paralysis and move forward intelligently on important business decisions?

Here are a few tips on how to avoid analysis paralysis and make your moves with confidence.

1. Start with a decision hierarchy

Sometimes analysis paralysis happens because we simply have too many decisions to make at one time. When this is the case, it’s all too easy to treat every decision like a top priority. But when you take the time to lay out which decisions need to be made when, you can focus on the choices to make right away and leave the others on the backburner for a while.

Determine where each decision falls on the hierarchy by asking yourself a few simple questions: How important is the decision? How will its outcome affect your next steps? When does the decision truly need to be made by? You should also take note of other decisions that may be waiting on this one, and ask what could potentially go wrong if you delay making the call.

At The SLC Group, we’re exploring options for marketing strategies, business coaching, pricing structures, company branding, service options, target markets, and internal systems like CRM’s, email marketing platforms, and course delivery. That’s a lot of big decisions to make all at once, but the decision hierarchy can put it in perspective.

In looking closer, I realized that positioning myself as a Profit First Professional and tapping into the membership resources allows me to move the ball forward in nearly every one of the above areas. Making the other decisions without deciding what to do with PFP would likely require back-tracking and adjusting down the road to bring my systems and strategies in line. But once I’m in the gate with PFP, I’ll have support, coaching, and pre-made materials to help guide my choices everywhere else.

So put your decisions in order. Filtering your myriad of choices through this process can help you zero in on the most important choices to make today and give you the space to put 100% of your focus where it is needed now.

2. What is the goal of each decision?

If you don’t know why you need to make the decision, there probably isn’t going to be much pressure to make it, is there? But if you’re clear on why the decision is important for your business, it’s much easier to dedicate the attention needed to reach a conclusion.

Since I heard of Profit First Professionals, joining their ranks has been a signal that I’m ready to play ball with the Big Boys (and Big Girls, and Big Bigs of all kinds). Profit First exists to “eradicate entrepreneurial poverty” – a mission I am wholeheartedly aligned with. I want to help mission-driven clients build wildly successful companies so that they can make a massive difference in the world. I believe in the work, I swear by the system, and I’m motivated to bring these tools to the clients I’m so passionately rooting for.

Getting connected to that vision helped me see that joining PFP is an important part of my overall mission as an entrepreneur. Lit up by my “why”, I can feel energized and enthusiastic making the next big moves.

Special note here: Be sure to keep the decision in perspective and avoid over-inflating its importance. Focus on the goal you want to achieve, without adding pressure to do it perfectly or immediately. Tying the choice to a “why” should be motivating, not overwhelming. If you find yourself in analysis paralysis because the stakes feel too high, there’s a good chance you’re adding unnecessary significance to the outcome.

3. Create smaller steps for each decision

Try breaking the decision down into smaller sub-decisions. This process can help weed out options and allow you to arrive at a final answer with greater clarity. A big choice isn’t as paralyzing when it’s informed by several little choices that help point you in the right direction.

In this case, the decision to join PFP started a while ago, when I set up my company’s finances in alignment with the Profit First system. I wasn’t ready to take the plunge into membership back then, but knowing compliance with the system in my own firm would be a requirement, I got Profit First set up right out the gate. The decision to live into PFP membership as an option not only set me up to be profitable enough to make the investment, it also took a lot of the implementation work off my plate now that I’m looking to jump in officially.

4. Remember that nobody’s perfect

For me, one of the biggest struggles when making decisions is dealing with the fear that I’ll make the wrong choice. Sure, PFP membership sounds good today, but what if I get in there and realize it’s not quite what I bargained for? What if the community isn’t as supportive as I hoped, or the tools aren’t easy enough to customize? What if my revenue doesn’t grow enough to cover the increased expense, or the ROI is simply not there fast enough? What if I put in all the money and time to restructure my firm around Profit First, and the whole thing turns into a flop? What if there were better options out there, but I was caught up in a tragic case of tunnel vision?

What’s important to realize is there’s is bound to be a margin of error for every decision you make. A big part of business (and of life) is making mistakes. Don’t get caught up in making the “right” choice, and don’t let the fear of a “wrong” choice keep you from choosing. Commit to taking the feedback however the decision turns out, and strive to make the best possible choice with today’s information.

All in all, sometimes “not choosing” can seem like a better option than making a mistake, but there’s a cost to inaction as well. Whether it’s a strain on your mental health, missing out on an offering for your clients, or sticking yourself with a more expensive or time-consuming investment down the road, sitting on the fence because you’re afraid to choose one side or the other will almost always end up more painful than just getting moving.

You don’t have to make rash decisions or choose for the sake of choosing. Prioritize the most important choices first. Get clear on your why. Split your decisions into smaller steps. And do the proper research. This will give you the clarity and confidence to act before it’s too late!

In case you’re wondering, we did indeed decide that Profit First Professionals is the right move and the right time for The SLG Group. We’ve officially embarked on the path to certification, and we couldn’t be more excited or more ready to bring this work to our clients.

If you’re interested in learning more about Profit First for your business, schedule a call with us. We’ll be accepting an extremely limited number of clients at a discounted rate until we are PFP certified later this year. If you’ve been curious about implementing this strategy for your own cash flow, now is the perfect time to act!!



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