You’re listening to the Minimum Viable Business Podcast Episode 1.
Hey there, Nunzio Bruno here and welcome to the Minimum Viable Business podcast. This is the daily podcast dedicated to helping you take your business off of the backs of napkins and kitchen tables and out into the world delivering your value to the people that really need it.
In the official first episode I want to tackle decision making. If you’re listening to this around the time that the podcast goes live you’ll notice that making decisions and the month of January kind of go hand in hand. If you’re not no worries because getting better at making decisions is really a gift you can give yourself any time of the year.
Before we get into how to make better decisions I want to talk briefly about why getting better at making decisions matters.
And to do that I want to start by asking a question:
You are thinking about what to do next in your business and you realize you’re going to have to make a purchase, you need some new stuff to get the next phase of your plan into action. Could be a piece of physical hardware, could be software, could even be furniture. (I have been looking at standing desks recently.) The question is what do you do?
Well I’m guessing your process goes like this:
Step 0. Get excited at the thought of how this next purchase will solve all my problems and will be the singular thing to get me over the hurdles I’m currently facing in my business.
Step 1. Hit Google.
Step 2. Open a new browser window and find out if search results in Google are products I can buy on Amazon.
Step 3. Read a few reviews and search for similar items in Amazon. Then open new browsers for products that could be in the running for comparison.
Step 4. Open another browser and search YouTube for reviews, start to watch a review
Step 5. Repeat step 4 a few more times.
Step 6. Get distracted by YouTube for a bit and realized that I’ve just lost 45 minutes to watching videos in my subscription feed.
Step 7. Realize that I have other things to finish and I’ll get back to shopping for this later.
So you’ve spent the last hour or so doing what? Research? Well it may have started off as research but it quickly spun out into a distraction and you are no further in your business than when you started. Something like this can be a big blow to your productivity and your momentum.
I can help with this though the first thing I want to do is absolutely squash the notion that the next purchase of anything will be the magic solution to propel your business to the next level.
Are tools helpful, yes. As you grow are you going to need to make sure that you have a minimum level of equipment and support to deliver your value, yes. Will your software, hardware or soon to be purchased standing desk do your work for you, NO!
That brings us to the big point first point which is how you frame the decisions matters. We make thousands of decisions a day, some important and some not so important. Some require focused attention and some are on autopilot. Decisions are not created equal. Thinking that your future success is hanging on the your next Amazon purchase is going to deplete you and make it harder for you to make decisions that matter more later in your business.
Decision Fatigue is real and it’s something you need to be aware of. I’ll link to a great article from James Clear in the show notes but the gist of decision fatigue is that you wake up everyday fresh and ready to take on the world. Every time your willpower is tested or you have to make a decision your ability and propensity to make decisions dwindles and eventually you’re empty. At that point you’re ability to make good decisions is relegated to the parts of your brain that encourage you to take the easy path, the path that requires the least amount of brainpower to get to some kind of “good enough” outcome.
That is not a good place to be making business decisions from.
So don’t let squirreling off into YouTube binges eat into your decision making power.
Making better decisions also matters because it will make you more productive. You’ll be able to save time and make the most out of your decision making faculties. It makes you more productive because you can acknowledge that all decisions aren’t created equal, meaning deciding when something is good enough vs has to be perfect. Good enough can be an appropriate outcome to some decisions.
You’re able to do this because you’ll have a pre-established criteria for the decisions you make. People like the late Steve Jobs and even Mark Zuckerberg have been credited with doing this with their wardrobes. They wear the same outfits or types of outfits all the time which means they don’t have to waste time thinking and planning out what they are wearing everyday. They just reach into their closets and boom, onto the next set of decisions.
It might not sound like a big deal but they have a process they follow that helps them make the most out of the one constraint we all bump up against which is time.
Ok so up to this point you know that decision fatigue is real and that all decisions aren’t created equal so you have to watch out for the little ones that can sneakily fatigue those decision making muscles.
On to one of my favorite things in life - a process.
If you don’t have a decision making framework then I’d like to introduce you to one and if you do I’d like to add on more to your decision making arsenal.
This is a 5 step framework you can use to help you work out which ideas and decisions will have the biggest bang for your buck. We’re going to go through the steps and a little coaching through each step to help you on your decision making journey.
Step 1. Start with the easy-ish lifting. Identify the problem, opportunity or challenge.
The goal is to get your problem, opportunity or challenge out of your brain where it might be a little muddled because you’re constantly sizing up possible solutions to it and into the world. When you get your first version you should it again only this time strip out any jargon or buzzwords and simplify it to the lowest possible denominator.
Now that you have your issue boiled down to the fewest possible moving parts it’s time to decide if this is something that’s worth pursuing. When you’re stuck you might be weighing a few options, here’s how you can prioritize.
Step 2. Will addressing this issue move your business forward in any (or all) of these? There are four major categories and more boxes you check the more important the issue and the higher a priority it gets.
Time: Will it save you time? Create time? Bend time?
Money: Will it make you more money? Save you money? Cost you money?
Mission: Does this impact your “why” for the business?
Culture: Will addressing this issue impact how your business delivers value?
Step 3. Can you frame a solution to honor your and your business’ values?
What is it?
Is there more than one solution?
Does the solution feel authentic?
Step 3 is a biggie. Part of getting and staying unstuck and making decisions is making authentic choices and setting a course that feels like work you can do and do well. If you are just searching the internet for tactics and quick tips you’re essentially yo-yo dieting with your problems/challenges/opportunities.
Step 4. How will you measure success?
One of my favorite sayings is, “What gets measured, gets managed”. At this point you’ve identified what’s important and a way to address it that feels authentic. Now you need to define what success looks like. What are the outcomes that you are shooting for? Get specific with your outcome and your time frame. Don’t get specific because you’re giving yourself an artificial deadline, get specific so that you can keep track of the time, money and energy you're putting into your solution. The WORST thing you can do is throw resources at something and not know if it’s working or not.
Step 5. This is the final step and step and it’s to identify the first thing you need to do?
Then the second, third, etc.
Step 5 is all about breaking down what you need to do into bitesize nugget actions. The goal here is to break down your actions so that when you check one off of your to-do list you’ll be greeted with a nice bits of instant gratification. Meaning each action has a specific outcome that not only feeds into the next action but helps you build momentum. Even if you can’t see the very end of the road, map out as many actions as you can and set a benchmark or two. As you’re creeping towards the end revisit, adjust or heck even go back through the framework if you start feeling that decision wanderlust again.
Using this framework when you have to make decisions and identify the types of stuff that drain your decision ability takes patience and practice but if you’re consistent you’ll start to see the productivity payoffs really quickly. In the show notes for Episode 1 at www.disruptivestrategy.co you’ll be able to find a PDF version of this framework to support you making better decisions as well as a link to the James Clear article I mentioned earlier.
Alright that wraps up this episode. Thanks for joining me now get out there and start making better decisions. I’ll see you in the next one.
James Clear Article: http://jamesclear.com/willpower-decision-fatigue