Intuition is a wonderful thing. People are always told to trust their guts, but there is a lot of evidence to say that by trusting our guts we are making bad decisions. Social constructionism portrays our memory as being very soft. We tend to be more positive about our decisions. So, we tend to be better at remembering when our decision making was right and much less about the times when we were wrong.
When, as a businessperson, you’re looking at risking a lot of money, or even your business, on a decision, it is important that you make an informed decision. Professional psychologists state that when you are making important decisions, it is best to have all the facts in front of you.
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One of the biggest problems you might have with trusting your gut is that you’re seeing a scenario, event or prospect from one side. This biased view of the decision-making process is what causes numerous problems. You might like a new business venture, but does anyone else?
For instance, you might have found a new way to effortlessly send information across the world, but do businesses want to buy into that? For other businesses, it might mean large costs to retrain staff, buy equipment and pay for your services. If they already have a system that does the same job, even if it is slightly worse, they’re unlikely to buy into yours, unless you can make a very convincing argument.
You might also think you have a great idea to add a new service customers will like, but do your front-line staff think the same? They speak to customers all the time and so are probably closer to knowing the weak points of customers.
And that is where many new businesses fail. They have an idea, but they don’t know if there is a market for this, in a particular area. Another classic example is the opening of a cafe. Everyone loves coffee and cakes and it might seem lucrative. However, your gut might not be counting the other 10 cafes already in the neighborhood.
Nearly 20% of businesses fail within one year because they run out of funds. That partially means that the market for their product/service just wasn’t available.
Getting More Accurate Data
Therefore, you need to find more data than what is available, through your gut. There are many sources of information you can use. So, let’s look at some of the best places to find data.
1. Research Papers
One of the key places to find data is through research papers. These can be bought online and will detail studies that have shown what communities and experts think about your market. It might showcase gaps in markets, technology or even in consumer thinking that you might not have thought about.
The trick here is to use research papers that are fairly recent. Even one that is a year, or two old could be too old if others have moved in.
2. Local News Reports
Local news reports can be a great source of data. However, you have to be careful not to get caught up in political news, where a newspaper, website or TV channel has embellished the news for a particular political party. In addition, you should always make sure data is backed up from other sources before relying on news.
By far one of the best sources of information for your decisions should be from surveys. That is because you can ask the questions you want, get the information you need, and these are more relevant for your purposes.
Surveys can be conducted internally (with employees, suppliers, etc.) or externally (potential customers). Questions should be brief, only five to ten per survey, in order to find out as much as possible. The longer your questionnaires are, the less respondents you will have and the poorer quality of data you will get. Thus, your decisions will not be as good.
Surveys can also be conducted online, to make things more convenient with your audience. The more convenient yours are for the respondents, the better the quality of data you will be able to collect.
Final Word: Listen To Your Gut, But Rely On Better Data
Many experts claim that our guts are important to the decision-making process. However, they also agree that we shouldn’t make decisions, which are purely based on our intuition. Decisions with better data will lead to more positive outcomes that will only aid your business in growing.
There are many ways to collect better data for your business. These include using published studies, news reports and surveys. Arguably, the best studies and news reports use surveys to present their information. Therefore, perhaps you should follow suit and create a survey of your own.