When you’re starting out, doubt creeps in quickly. It’s easy to second-guess decisions or mull over details that end up being irrelevant. But don’t let this feeling lessen the value of your knowledge. Believing that your own instincts aren’t valid because you’re a bit green to the business world is a mistake.
The number one thing I would challenge any business owner to flip is their perspective. Always, always, always go with your gut.
What is your gut? It’s your intuition, that instant feeling that something is going to work or not. It’s a clue your high level brain delivers to spur action long before you can put it into words. Harvard professor and psychologist Howard Gardner puts it this way, “Gut instinct is basically a form of pattern recognition.”
Recognizing clear patterns of behavior in people sets clear expectations. Life experience alone exposes the variety of viewpoints. And business experience even more so reveals people’s beliefs in many other areas- business strategy & ethics, life motivation & goals and respect for & treatment of others.
This experience transforms your gut from one of pure emotion-driven instinct to what Linda Rink, President of Rink Consulting, calls, “an informed gut.” An informed gut is fueled by the knowledge of industry trends, an understanding of clients & prospects and routine assessment of team members.
Once you have an informed gut, you’ll find it essential for the following decisions:
1. Leaving Clients Behind
If you have to rationalize their attitude, behavior or unwillingness to pay your set fees, don’t take on that client. Don’t be afraid to turn away potential clients that are going to nitpick or penny pinch the entire process—you’ll always feel you can’t deliver and they’ll feel they’re overpaying for something they don’t love.
2. Expanding your Business
At many points in your business you reach a proverbial crossroads. It seems growth is inevitable, but it’s also daunting. Should you invest in expanding your team now, or wait? Outside factors will try to sway you, but you know what will propel your business to continued success. Don’t hold back simply because an economist wants to tell you it’s not the right time, stick to your informed gut.
3. Calling it Quits
If you’re working with a vendor that doesn’t have the same values, you can’t rely on them to help your team provide a positive client experience. And the same goes for a team member; they may have the appropriate skill set to get the job done, but they may lack the ability to deliver with the timeliness and attitude you value.
Shifting your perspective does not come easily. It takes time to strengthen your ‘informed gut,’ constantly growing in information and experience while more devotedly relying on those gut checks— first impressions or reactions. But once you recognize the value of these instincts, you’ll find your decision-making process becomes more fluid and less cluttered with regret. So go ahead, flip it!
Maria Orozova is the President & Creative Director of The MOD Studio in Austin, Texas. MOD is a boutique design studio and the creative powerhouse behind many local and national brands, and our 16 ADDYS and 19 GDUSA awards prove it. For more information visit www.themodstudio.com or follow us on facebook.com/theMODstudio and twitter.com/theMODstudio