There are plenty of legendary bad business decisions: Blockbuster passing up the chance to buy Netflix; Kodak sitting on the digital camera; New Coke.
But there are also some legendary smart moves: "I'll have the merchandising rights in exchange for a smaller pay packet," said a certain George Lucas.
What separates good companies from great companies, and good managers from great managers is decision-making. And there are four key decisions that you need to nail if you want to see your business grow.
1. Decide… on the right people to work with
No company can work towards growth without good employees. Google's recruitment processes and incentives, for instance, are geared towards attracting and retaining the best available talent. Hammocks, arcade games and free ice-cream may not be your thing, but just like Google, your staff are vital to your company's growth, and just like Google, you want the best available talent.
To find the best-fit candidates, you need a process; you don't want to make up your recruitment drive as you go along. But that process doesn't need to be protracted; I've developed a recruitment process that takes just four hours.
2. Decide… where to establish your presence
In 2017, businesses can no longer be broad and vague about their channel strategy. A company like ASOS - which has laser-like focus on the online retail experience – is just one example of how deciding on the right channel for your business leads to growth.
Any company looking to grow can't be all things to everyone, nor can it be present everywhere without spreading itself too thin. Decide to define your niche.
3. Decide… to stay the course in the face of failure
To see your business grow, you need to learn how to cope with failure. At some point, everyone fails at something, but it's not the failure that's important, it's how that failure is dealt with. Failure tells you what didn't work, so that you can make the changes that will move you closer to what will work. To paraphrase Spiderman's uncle Ben, with great failure comes great opportunity.
4. Decide… what your goals are
The best business owners and managers are goal-driven, but the key to success is making your goals the right goals; and you need to create a plan to achieve them. The best goals are realistic but ambitious; and specific but flexible.
Henry Ford had goals. He wanted to increase production of the Model T, so he doubled his workforce. Production doubled. The following year, production almost doubled again with the introduction of the assembly line.
But then the company encountered a difficulty: retaining its workforce. Because of the dull repetitiveness of the assembly line, employee turnover became incredibly high.
Henry Ford had a new goal - stop losing workers. He made a fresh plan: reduce the workday and double pay. Not only did worker turnover drop dramatically, those better-paid employees could afford the company's product. In less than a decade Ford was able to drop the price of a Model T from around $800 to $350. And Ford became a billionaire.
Decide on a step-by-step plan, set milestones, and create a structured growth strategy to take your business from where it is now, to where you want it to be.
With the right decisions, you'll not only ensure your business has the best chance to grow; you'll be more efficient, less stressed and far more successful.