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Four Ways to Avoid Making Bad Decisions in an Uncertain Market

The impact of COVID-19 continues to reverberate through the economy, but the big question on every decision maker’s mind is “How can I make good business decisions in the midst of economic uncertainty?”. One thing is for sure, we cannot stall and stop indefinitely, decisions must be made and business must carry on with eyes fixed firmly on long-term ambitions.

Below are four steps to help decision makers in these challenging times.

  1. Focus on what you can control

It is important to step back from the detail and decide what factors are still within your control. Whilst it will always be important to read and react to the market, if businesses expend too much energy on external factors beyond their control during this pandemic they may miss the opportunity to improve those things which are often overlooked internally. Take time out to improve your processes and apply resources to those things in your control.

  1. Reflect on all possible outcomes

Scenario planning is essential in all organisations. Model out the best and worst case scenarios for your business and then reflect on the actions required to respond to both. It is easy to focus on the best case and dismiss the worst, but by giving fair attention to both, you can both plan for the best case scenario yet also plan to make the best of a worst case scenario. This can be the make or break point of many ventures so please don’t ignore the worst case.

  1. Look for opportunities

Play to your strengths. For example, an SME can take advantage of agility while it’s larger competitors struggle to respond. Consider the long-term ambitions of the business and whether there is a different road to reaching the same destination. In the last few months, e-commerce has boomed and older age groups have found themselves increasing their time spent on technology. Consider if this is something you can take advantage of, market towards and respond appropriately. 

  1. Don’t play the blame game

Inevitably, mistakes will be made as no one can predict the future. No business will make the right decision every time. However the businesses that succeed embrace the ‘failure’, reflect on the cause, but most importantly consider what the next action should be. Adopting a learning mindset is essential. Rather than focusing on who is responsible for how things have turned out, by turning your attention to what can be done now, you encourage a positive outlook and give courage to those around you. 

In conclusion, although we did not foresee a pandemic hitting us in 2020, business will continue and decisions will be made.  In the words of Reinhold Niebuhr “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”. So let’s focus on factors within our control, plan for the worst, aim for the best and make the most of the changing opportunities which the current economic market provides.

written by:
Luke Hodgkins