How to get better at decision-making in business

Picture of by Ros Jones

by Ros Jones

Business coach and author

We make decisions every day.

Whenever there’s a choice, we get to make a decision, whether that’s what to eat for breakfast, what clothes to wear, or whether to take our brolly with us when we go outside. Making decisions is something we do automatically.

So why is it that many of us struggle with decision-making in our business?



Sometimes there can be just too many choices and too much information. This can lead to decision paralysis when we feel too overwhelmed to make any decision.


Fear of “failure” can stop us from moving forward in many areas of our lives.

By failure, we mean making a mistake and a mistake is relative of course. We could consider mistakes as opportunities to learn from them and grow.

Instead, we often worry about what people may think. We’re afraid of being judged, though not always if we make a mistake but also sometimes of being successful and standing out.

Fear of making the wrong decision can hold us back in business especially if it could mean a significant loss of money, damage to our reputation, or adverse impacts on our various stakeholders.

It is a human trait to fear the worst – this was originally born out of our ancestors’ battle for survival when there were many more things to be fearful of than there are today. But our tendency to be consumed by fear and doubt remains even at the forefront of our modern-day brains.

Relying on consensus

We can be held back in our decision-making process if we look for unanimous agreement within our team. Sometimes it will be impossible to get everyone to agree and this will hold us back.

The impact on our business of poor decision making

Failure to get better at decision-making in business can have a detrimental – even deadly – impact on our business.

We can miss out on big-ticket opportunities, fail to adapt and innovate as the market requires, be too slow to expand our team or too slow to reduce our team, too slow to cut marketing expenditure that’s not giving us a decent return on investment – . The scenarios are endless.

How can we get better at decision-making in business?

Gut instinct

Our “gut instinct” or intuition can be a useful barometer when making a decision. But our gut feelings are usually influenced by our expertise. When we’re really experienced in a particular area, our gut can signal what choices we need to make.

In unfamiliar territories, however, relying solely on our gut can be riskier. This is when we need to tap into our logical, analytical mind and look at the facts.

The BRAIN model

A model I like to use and share with others is the BRAIN.

BRAIN is an acronym for:






It works by guiding us to think and analyse on each of the 5 areas.

You can do this alone or brainstorm with a team.

Take a piece of paper or a notebook.

Begin by listing all the benefits of the options you have to choose from.

Next, consider all the risks of the options. How likely is each risk and could you mitigate against them? Do you have a contingency plan if the risks become issues?

The third step is to consider any other alternatives. Are there other options you haven’t yet considered? List these and then, for each, go through the benefits and risks as above.

Ask yourself whether you have sufficient information to make a decision. If you struggled to identify the benefits and risks above, it may be that you need more information. Perhaps you need to carry out further research or ask more questions.

Finally, consider the scenario if you were to do nothing. If there are few benefits and many risks to the options you’re considering, it may be better just to do nothing.

When choosing to do nothing, however, be super honest and ask yourself whether you have a status quo bias. That means that you like to stick to the same things and are not comfortable with change. It could be that your personal bias is holding you back from stretching your entrepreneurial legs.

I hope this article has been useful. Please do get in touch with your comments and questions. I’d love to hear from you!


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