SCORE Small Business Blog

How Do You Know When to Go With Your Gut?
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When it comes to running your business, do you believe in “going with your gut?” Or are you the type of person who likes to research, assess and analyze every option before you make a move?

Personally, I’m the former. But whether you’re an information-seeker or operate on instinct, the best approach to running your business is to find the middle ground.

Relying too much on your gut instincts can spur you to jump into opportunities that aren’t all they’re made out to be, act rashly or make choices you’ll regret later. But ignoring your gut can lead to equally damaging mistakes and missed opportunities. How can you balance the two?

If you’re a gut person:

  • Do your homework. If you’re considering partnering with another business, for example, research their expertise, management and reputation.
  • Get other opinions. If you only listen to your gut, you might not hear others pointing out the flaws in the opportunity. Poll your friends and colleagues and listen to what they say.
  • Have options. Sometimes the data you’ll gather aren’t conclusive, or you want to ignore them and just go on gut. Be sure to have a backup plan if what your gut’s telling you to do doesn’t work out the way you expect.

If you’re a data person:

  • Know when to stop. Most data-gatherers can research something for months on end…long after the opportunity to act has passed. Set a reasonable deadline for yourself, get the information you need and then stop.
  • Consider the source. Some information is more valuable than others. Don’t get bogged down in small details—focus on the big picture.
  • Tune in. Research types often tune out their guts. When you’re done gathering info, spend some time alone—just you and your gut—and tune in to how you feel (not what you think) about the decision.

No matter what type of approach you take to your gut, having a good sounding board can help. The mentors at SCORE are there for you 24/7. Visit the SCORE website to get matched with a mentor and get free business counseling.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship.
www.growbizmedia.com | @rieva | More from Rieva

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