Making Smart Decisions During Challenging Times

Photo Credit-Stark Photography

When a crisis hits, our emotions automatically kick in. Worry, fear, depression, panic are common responses to stressful situations. You need to allow yourself to experience those feelings and then work past them. Don’t make decisions about your business when you’re feeling distressed. You can avoid reactive decisions and overcome your anxiety by being methodical and deliberate.

One of the most unsettling things about a crisis is not knowing what’s going to happen next. To help you feel more grounded, start by gathering as much factual information about the situation as you can. Smart decision-making begins with having clarity about what’s going on and what your options are.

Broaden your prospective. Often others have insights or can see possibilities or downsides that aren’t readily apparent to us. Discuss your concerns and ideas with friends and business associates. Sometimes just talking things through can help expand and sharpen your thinking.

Put your thoughts on paper. Create a diagram, list key bullet points, summarize your ideas in a paragraph or two, make a chart of pros and cons, draw a picture—whatever helps you to get a clearer idea of what you’re proposing and how it would impact your business. Give yourself permission to think outside the box. This is the time to consider as many angles and generate as many ideas as possible.

Start to refine your thinking. Identify the issue, the outcome you want to achieve, the steps you plan to take, and the likely consequences of taking those steps. Begin to fill in some of the details, such as finances and changes to your operations, and identify gaps, such as skills or access to markets, that will need to be addressed for your plan to succeed.

Finally, develop or modify your business plan, then determine if your new plan looks viable and achievable. By now you should feel confident that you are making a well-informed, thoughtful decision, one that takes into consideration your business’s short-term needs as well as its long-term solvency.


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