What small business owners can learn from Angelina Jolie about making tough decisions

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film fes...
English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Angelina Jolie found out how high the risk of breast cancer was to her personally she decided to be proactive and minimise the risk by having a preventative double mastectomy.

Jolie did her homework. She got the facts to make an informed decision. Consulting her doctors she confirmed that she carries a “faulty” gene, BRCA1 and her risk was 87 percent for breast cancer and 50 percent for ovarian cancer.

She did not backpedal on making her decision. She did not play it safe. She demonstrated courage by making a difficult decision.

Small business owners are faced with tough decisions in this uncertain and difficult economy. Tough decisions have to be made to ensure small business survival whether yours is a retail store or you act as an independent consultant.

Here are 10 tough business decisions that small business owners face in these rough times:

1 Change direction. A business opportunity you thought would be a sales machine isn’t panning out. It may take another two years to make real money but can you afford to wait that long?
2 Turn away a possible lucrative customer. You are uncertain whether a large customer will give you the run around and take months to pay. Should you walk away while you still can?
3 Take a pay cut in your business. With this action save your business and increase morale?
4 Implement a cash management plan. You sense you are headed for a bear squeezing in your cash flow. Do you have the courage to do something about it?
5 Let go poor performers. In rough times slackers quickly stand out. An employee could no longer be pulling their weight. People save you money, make you money or create value that reduces risk for your business or grows goodwill and reputation. Is the person no longer a fit for your company?
6 Make the ethical choice. Contracts or new business may be enticing in bad times but one lapse in ethics can put you on the road to disaster.
7 Expand in poor times. You may need to expand to save your business in the medium run but now you are comfortable. What is the risk of playing it safe?
8 Cutting back on unnecessary expenditure. Examine everything you can eliminate. Think over it for a few days. What cuts could you make to improve the viability of your business?
9 Let go of the past. What worked yesterday, may no longer work in bad times. What’s preventing you from moving forward?
10 Closing your business down. Drastic action but will shutting your business save you from a lifetime of debt? Could you move on to better pastures?

A list like this may sound theoretical. But it isn’t. Last week I got a call from an organisation that is closing shop. Why? They never took the hard decision to balance incoming cash without going cash. Simple as that.

Overcome the fear of failure. Do your homework. Get the facts to make an informed decision. Act. Take the first step. That’s all it takes. The first step.

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