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The Default Decision Maker: What Is It Costing You?

Oftentimes we are asked, “who is our biggest competitor?” And our answer is “uncertainty.”

It’s true, the biggest stumbling block when trying to convert a prospect to a customer is to get that prospect to agree to do something.  Oftentimes, we think that the prospect decided to go with another company, but usually, it’s that they decided not to do anything at all.

The Default Solution

Business owners want to go with the safe and acceptable alternative, and it ends up being the default solution. So why do business owners who want to grow their business default to doing nothing? There are many reasons we can enumerate, including lack of time, money, desire, and great uncertainty. Doing nothing seems like a safe choice that protects our time, money, and resources.

Ben Feldman said, “doing something costs something. Doing nothing costs something. And, quite often, doing nothing costs a lot more!” – there is always a hidden cost. Economists often refer to it as ‘opportunity cost,’ or a ‘trade-off.’ Every time you make a choice, there is a trade-off to consider. You must evaluate what you are gaining as well as what you may be giving up.

In the Moment Vs. Tomorrow

At a young age we are all taught to be cautious and earnest: Sit on the furniture (no standing or jumping), don’t run with scissors, practice those piano lessons, and study, study, study! Growing up we developed these cautious habits and are now taking this restraint into the workplace. This deep-rooted behavior continues to show up, resulting in leaders who become frozen with passivity because they want to make the right decision rather than a decision.

Is there any benefit in doing nothing today? Sure, you may save capital in the short term, but what will it cost you eventually? For example, company X was expecting a sales forecast 2.5 times the previous year actual sales, but company X only had the capacity to handle a 50% increase of last years outbound volume. Company X developed two alternatives – the first option, do nothing; the second option, expand. Considering all the factors and projecting the company’s ROI they ended up going with option two. The 12-month productivity payback was not the only factor that determined the true ROI. Additional outbound capacity was viewed as an opportunity to accommodate up to 300% of additional sales.

ROI cannot be the primary criteria for decision making. In the current business environment, the cost of doing nothing is unaffordable. Turning your back on continuous improvement efforts could result in your company’s future. If company X chose option 1 (to do nothing) what would it have cost them?

  • Loss of sales
  • Increased processing costs
  • Inadequate storage capacity
  • Potential increase in safety risks
  • Losing customers to competitors
  • Losing your people
  • Inaction today leads to an uncertain future.

What Is This Really Costing Me?

A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” – Grace Hopper. Think about how this applies to other areas of your business.

For example, do you know your salespeople aren’t following up with prospects, but you aren’t putting simple procedures in place to make that happen?

Do you know your leadership team needs more training, but the day-to-day busyness makes it something you will get to later?

Do your marketing efforts need improvement, but it’s easier to keep doing nothing?

Here’s your challenge for the week: Consider a recent decision that you delayed making and ask your self – What is this really costing me? If my business is not working to constantly improve then what am I working for?

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