Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Creating beautiful landscapes requires sound business decisions (Image: Karen Smith)
Business File

Making better business decisions

By John Corban

We are now settled into the new calendar year and it’s a suitable time to act on some important strategic decisions for your business, if you haven’t done so already. It might be that you are seriously thinking about hiring or removing a skilled worker, removing or adding a service, increasing charge out rates, improving a system in your business or buying an expensive piece of equipment. Whatever the important decision is, it’s always better to follow a structure to ensure you are not going to potentially cost yourself by making a wrong decision.

Here are five quick questions to ask yourself before making any business decision:

  • Is this decision aligned with my goals and vision?
  • Is this decision aligned with my company values?
  • Does this decision fit with my financial forecast and if not, how could it be?
  • Do I have the time and the resources to support this decision?
  • What is the worst thing that can happen if it doesn’t work out? If the downside is too uncomfortable, then clearly its not worth the risk.

The following is a more detailed decision-making process to follow:

  1. Determine the problem and identify the goals to be accomplished by your decision.
  • Be aware of your gut feeling. Your instant feelings on the situation are a great guide if this decision is right.
  • Create two columns on a piece of paper – Pros and Cons. Also add some supportive or conflicting information that you have researched or are aware of.
  • Where applicable, create a financial forecast to help see clearly what the decision could mean financially.
  • Make the decision.
  • Take action.
  • Evaluate the decision a few days/weeks after it’s made.

Often important decisions are rushed, or the fear of the decision not working out can paralyse a business owner. Don’t let this happen, instead be thorough in your decision-making process, like the example below.

Example: Making the decision to employ someone

When working with a client who is planning to employ a skilled landscaper, we discuss what problems employing someone could solve. Also, who will be responsible for leading and training that person, and are they capable of leading them.
We always discuss in some detail the financial responsibility of this decision. We add the cost of a new recruit to a financial forecast by adding their wage and superannuation. Then work out what the required increased sales amount is going to be to cover this expense (also increased productivity will add additional sales), and view how the decision will affect the business over the next twelve months. If the required sales are too high and indicate too big a risk, the decision will be suspended until a later date. But if it all appears favourable, we make sure that the required documents and systems are in place, such as:

  • Position agreement
  • Remuneration package
  • Letter of employment
  • Contract
  • Interview Questions
  • Induction plan
  • Advertisement
  • Checklists

We also look at the downside of employing such a person and if it can be absorbed comfortably and if the benefits larger than the downside. After all the information has been clearly analysed, if the client’s rational mind and gut feeling is in favour, the action to find someone begins.

Important strategic decisions to improve various areas of your business will always need to be made. Don’t let fear stop you from moving your business to another level in 2024. Instead, follow a process and make decisions that will greatly help your business this year.

Have a great year!

John Corban
Business Coach for Landscapers, Horticulturists and Nursery owners
Mob: 0433 27 1980

Main photo: Creating beautiful landscapes requires sound business decisions (Image: Karen Smith)

Leave a Reply