By Megan Totka

Small business owners are typically faced with making decisions that need sound judgement and a sharp mind. You must follow your gut instinct but cannot rely on it alone. It’s crucial to develop a process for making difficult decisions, but that isn’t always as easy as it may sound. Not sure how to do this? Take a look at these 6 secrets to smart decision making.

1. Take your time

Try not to rush into making decisions. When you hastily make a choice, you can make costly errors. Weigh out the best and worst-case scenarios. You don’t need a major analysis, but at least write out the pros and cons on some paper to allow your brain to grasp the realities of the decision before jumping into something you may regret. While it may feel like you don’t have time to sit and ponder your decision – the State of Small Business survey found that time management was cited as one of the top challenges for small business owners – it’s worth it to ensure you don’t make a business decision that costs you.

2. Seek advice

While you are running the business, remember that it is okay to ask other’s for help. Consider turning to a peer in the industry or a friend or colleague you trust so you can get the advice you need to help you make the best decisions for your small business. Use these people as a sounding board. Maybe they have experience in a similar situation and can take what they learned and use it to help you.

You can also research online. When it comes to advice about making money on Amazon, learning is one of the first and most difficult tasks you’re going to have to tackle. The Amazing Selling Machine review by is an excellent resource to turn to when you want to learn how to sell private label products on Amazon and will walk you through, step-by-step, and teaching you the ins and outs and tricks and trades of running your small business.

3. Exercise active listening

The best way to make sound decisions is to have all of the facts. This requires that you’re an active listener. It’s not always easy to practice active listening when your plate is full but go ahead and sign out of your email and silence your phone and just listen. Active listening is how you can get the clearest picture of what your choices are and how they will impact your business. One of the best ways to improve your small business in 2019 is by listening to your team members, customers and leaders in the industry.

4. Allow your brain to be the leader

If you want to grow your small business fast, there’s one thing you have to do: instead of following your heart, let your brain guide you. While it’s tough to remove emotion from the decision-making process, it’s essential. For instance, if you have a team member who has worked with your small business for years, but is not working to your standards, you may feel an obligation to him or her. However, you have to realize that that obligation may hinder the growth of your business.

5. Look at your business plan

You spent time to create a business plan for many reasons –  and one of those is to use it. Your plan likely outlines your vision and core values. Turn to your business plan and see how your decision aligns with your vision and values.

6. Monitor potential outcomes

As you make more and more important business decisions, it will become easier for you to listen to your gut instinct and know just who to ask for guidance. Every time a big business decision presents itself, make a note about who you talked to, where you obtained the data that allowed you to make a decision and any other pertinent details. This helps ensure that in the future as you face a similar situation, you can see what worked for you and use the information again.

A significant part of being a highly successful small business owner is learning how to better calculate your business risks and make smarter decisions. Utilize the right tools and evaluate risks through both a short- and long-term lens and consider all factors so you make the best possible decisions for your business from this point forward.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.  Megan can be reached at Website:

Decision stock photo by Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock