How to Make Better Business Decisions

How to Make Better Business Decisions

How to make better decisions

A repeatable way to make better business decisions.

Do you have a systematic “process” for making better business decisions?

I built a tool to help organizations, first for the company I was at, then more broadly for clients, to gain deeper clarity into diverse perspectives, better understand and articulate your own point of view, and when combined with a healthy dialogue, surface better solutions to whatever challenge your company faces.

Use it, change it, and share it if you like, but please give me feedback so we can continue to make it better.

I currently use a combination of a website form, Google Sheets, and some Zapier magic to organize the responses, but you could use other tools to get it done – even a pen and paper! 

If you’d like a PDF version of the questions, let us know where to send it. 

[fluentform id=”1″]

A Post About How to Make Better Business Decisions

My form is organized into five sections with questions clustered around topics to stimulate responses that might otherwise go unexplored and help you make better business decisions.

Section 1

Decide what you are hoping to make a better business decision about.

Question:

What is the decision you are considering?

Section 2

What are you trying to accomplish or avoid with this decision?

Questions:

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. What is the primary reason for doing this?
  3. What outcome are we trying to get by doing this?
  4. Is there a phase or time where this decision will be more or less needed? Does it need to happen now? 

Section 3

How does this decision align with our mission, objectives, and KPIs?

Questions:

  1. How does this align with our mission long term?
  2. How does this align with our objectives over the next quarter?
  3. How does this align with our objectives over the next year?
  4. Why should we do this?
  5. What opportunities do we create by doing this?
  6. How is this good for our company?
  7. What results would this decision achieve to cause us to look back a year from now with hell yes! appreciation?  

If you’d like a PDF version of the questions, let us know where to send it. 

[fluentform id=”1″]

Section 4

What risks are we exposing ourselves too? The idea here is to play devil’s advocate even if you are in favor of the decision. What could go wrong if it doesn’t go right?

Questions:

  1. How could this decision harm us?
  2. What are the risks you’ve identified with this decision?
  3. What are the risks you’ve identified with this decision?
  4. What are other areas of our business could this impact?
  5. What would happen if we didn’t do this?

Section 5

Anything Else? An open question for anything not covered in the other sections.

Questions:

  1. Anything else you’d like to say or ask about the decision?
  2. Who else should answer these questions on this decision?

 

Conclusion

This is what I’ve used to help my companies and coaching clients make better decisions. What do you think? Is this a format you would use? If not, how can we make it better?

 

If you have a WordPress website (or want one) check out our WordPress Website Management service. We can do thing like turn these questions into a form on your website that automatically gets emailed to all the people you want to have it!

Not only is it a great way to stay focused on your business, our team will keep your website updated and running fast and secure.

If you’d like a PDF version of the questions, let us know where to send it. 

[fluentform id=”1″]

What To Do When Your Business Is In Lockdown

What To Do When Your Business Is In Lockdown

what to do when your business is in lockdown

Navigating COVID-19 & Other Business Challenges

 

Whether or not you agree with Governor Inslee’s decision doesn’t matter. For the next four weeks starting tomorrow (Wednesday if you are a restaurant), many Washington State businesses are severely limited or shut down to in-person engagements. 

What’s my approach to this situation? I say GOOD.

GOOD. is a phrase I adopted from Jocko Willink , but you could also use the stoic phase “Amor Fati” – or love of fate…as Friedrich Nietzsche said to “not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.”

not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.

LOVE IT.

To truly love the difficult, the unfair, the mundane, you must orient your thinking toward a growth mindset. A perspective where you suspend judging circumstances as good or bad, and all outcomes are an opportunity for improvement. It’s much easier to grovel and complain; or accept victimization, making it hard for many people to embrace this mindset. 

Many years ago, I read a story, and now regularly share a version of it from Derek Sivers blog called the “Parable of the Horses.” I’ll let you read the story for yourself, but the essence is this: we don’t know what the future holds and don’t have nearly enough information to judge something “good” or “bad.” 

Your mindset, starting right now, will have a profound impact on your business, your health, your employees, your family, your community, and so much more. With a healthy perspective, you can benefit no matter what happens – pandemics, shutdowns, elections, booms, and busts, all are opportunities for growth and improvement. 

What now? 

To navigate the situation and maximize the opportunity for growth, we need to reprogram how we think. I’ve found a single phrase borrowed from design thinking to be profoundly effective. How might we…?

How might we…?

How might we…? is a mental exercise in the form of a question that suspends judgment of good vs. bad ideas and allows you to explore possibilities you may not otherwise consider. There are no wrong answers – only opportunities to improve and grow. 

  • Do you own a restaurant that can’t seat customers? How might we delight our takeout customers? 
  • Do you have a gym that must close? How might we continue to serve our members digitally? 
  • Do you have a retail store that is limited to 25% capacity? How might we reach our customers online? 

So how might you benefit from Governor Inslee’s statewide restrictions? 

Latest Project: Mutual Fund Website Design for Bandon

Latest Project: Mutual Fund Website Design for Bandon

UPDATE:

Bandon Capital Management was acquired by Logan Circle Partners in late 2014. The beautiful website we spent months building was unceremoniously retired as part of the transaction.

Mutual Fund website design made easy

Mutual Fund Website Design for BandonPublicly communicating anything in the investment world is difficult to do (but we know how to do it, more here), and creating a website that is both informative  and visually stimulating the primary objective for our client.  Bandon Capital Management is a pioneer in the investment (absolute return long – short bonds if you are wondering) world and they’ve taken that same approach to their website design. Eschewing stock photos and cliche images of old men in suits, they opted for a design that was fresh, modern, and full of custom graphics and images.

A few details

In addition to good design, they had a few other requirements to make their website compliant with FINRA.  One of those was the ability to make certain content only accessible to financial professionals, but still be easy to use and maintain.  To accomplish this we customized a lightweight membership plugin to keep it simple, yet still do the job. The other was a separate section for BandonFunds.com that used the same data base, but didn’t run afoul of the regulators (how we accomplished that was a challenge!)

Another interesting add on was a quiz to test visitors knowledge of Long – Short debt.  It’s a fun and clever way to help educate people on what they do without being boring. A nice little add on is the ability to share results with your friends (or not if you didn’t do so well).  Take the Long – Short Challenge.

Great clients make great projects

All in all it was a great project to work on.  The team at Bandon is very knowledgeable, yet they allowed us to use our expertise to help communicate their message.   We look forward to continuing our relationship as we move into an ongoing marketing role where we’ll help create content and continue to broadcast their message with the goal of attracting more investors in the fund.  (If you are worried about the possibility of rising interest rates, give them a call or tell your broker to look at BANIX)

What do you think?

3 Things You Can Do To Get Your Website Noticed

3 Things You Can Do To Get Your Website Noticed

Well, you built a website or had someone build one, you added the url to your business card and now the online leads and sales are going to start rolling in, right? Well…not really. Many companies take the technological leap onto the Internet and don’t see the benefits. They get discouraged and this leads to a belief that you wasted time, money or both on a website. However, I am here to tell you that isn’t the case.

A website is successful when you take it from being two dimensional to three dimensional. You do this by giving your website a personality and realizing that you have customers out there, even if you can’t see them. Here are 3 things you can do to help get your website noticed!

#1 – Update Your Content
Many people don’t see immediate results from their website, so they neglect to keep their content relevant. Depending on the type of business you have, some ideas to keep your website up to date are text changes on your pages, adding products, updating your services, offering promotions or by creating blog posts. This not only tells people that you care about your business, it’s a great way to get noticed by the search engines as well, which helps your site move closer to the top of search results.

#2 – Promote Your Website In House
Making your website an interactive part of your business is essential to online success. Creating a steady stream of traffic will help drive your site to the top of the search engines. If you have services, have people schedule online for a small discount or offer other incentives to sign up for your service online. If you are selling goods, have sales that are website exclusive and promote this both IN store AND online so that people see that using your website can be a valuable resource and as a bonus, saves them money.

#3 – Use Social Media
On facebook, for every one person that likes your page – an average of 130 people see it, giving them a chance to like your page as well. The power of social media should not be underestimated and you can use this power for good. Think of creative ways to invite people to come to your website and conversely, offer people incentives to “like” your facebook page, follow you on twitter or connect with you on LinkedIn. By creating a greater web of contacts, you can reach more people with your promotions, your updates or…just to say hello.

What Does Workshed Do?

What Does Workshed Do?

A Simple Question

What do we (Workshed) do? The imprecise answer is that we build websites and help businesses with marketing; it’s also an oversimplification of what’s really going on. The reality is that these are just outcomes – solutions to a challenge, but not really what we are actually doing. If you were to start asking why we do various things, you’d quickly realize that the why, is what Workshed is all about.

Why?

Asking this one question (why) over and over allows us to understand the core issues facing our clients; even if they don’t. In the day to day running of a business, it can be difficult to discern areas of inefficiency. Our objectivity allows us to observe operations without the biases that come from years of experience.

In addition to understanding the how’s and why’s of your business, we also have to acquaint ourselves with your customer. During this get-to-know, you phase of a project we are (among other things) seeking to understand your customers. Who are they, why do they buy, what need are they attempting to satisfy, and how you can optimally serve them (taking into account your own goals and values).

Now What?

Once we know what you do and whom you should be doing it for, we start to craft solutions to bring the two of you together. This is where the websites, social media, and marketing come in. They are specific methods crafted to connect you with your ideal client. The outcome is the focus, not the tool. We are solution agnostic.

When you’re a hammer, all you see is nails.

When the tool takes precedence over the objective (to sell stuff) it’s easy to waste time and money. If you start with a clearly defined objective, the probability of success is dramatically increased.

What’s the Difference?

It all boils down to perspective. You might be tempted to assume that because our process usually ends up in a website that our websites are just like that of any other web design firm.

You’d be wrong.

I Thought You Built Websites for Business

Workshed is a team of passionate problem solvers who help businesses succeed as a way of expressing that passion. Contrast what we do with the typical web design company who build websites as an expression of their interest in technology.  The technology might be cool, but if it doesn’t attract paying customers it isn’t getting results.

We get results because we focus on them.

The Simple Answer

So what does Workshed do? We get you the right kind of customers and more of them!

How do we do it?

By focusing on the solution rather than the tool.

Do you need more ideal customers?

The Heart of Business

The Heart of Business

The Heart of BusinessYou are at the heart of your business. Your company most likely began with a dream and your willingness to work hard to make that dream a reality. Your passion was channeled into creating logos and an identity to define who you are and what you will be contributing to the marketplace.

However, more than likely, when you began to run your business, dreaming quickly became a thing of the past and the day to day tasks became the true reality. Sometimes, in order to be successful we have to push our dreams and desires aside so that we can manage the nuts and bolts of business. Once business begins to get busy, that becomes the most time consuming part of each day because the finished product or service is what will pay the bills.

Although time passes and your company evolves, your days are filled with goods and services, orders, management tasks, financials and more. You know the website that you created six years ago needs to be updated and the logo colors don’t reflect who you are anymore. Even though you know it is important, you aren’t able to make this stuff a priority right now.

Then you call Workshed…
We come in and reignite that passion in you. We put you back at the heart of your business, but take care of the work. Now, it’s our job to make your dream the reality so that your business can catch up with your imagination. Relax, you’ve earned it.

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