If you had to come up with the most needed skill for a small business owner, what would it be? 

Decision Making Skills

Would it be leadership? What about sales? How about organization or planning? Those are all needed skills for a small business owner but are not the one most needed.

What about communication? Yep, that’s a needed skill, but still not the most important one.

The most needed skill for a small business owner is the ability to make decisions. 

Why the Decision Making Skill is the Most Important

Paralysis. That’s what you get if you can’t make decisions. 

Your company will go no where or will wander all over the map unless you have the ability and use that ability to make decisions. It doesn’t really matter whether they are good decisions or bad decisions. Just making a decision is crucial. 

Decisions come in all shapes and sizes. From where to go to lunch today to which new product to focus on.  The thing about making decisions is that you can learn from them. Whether they’re good or bad, there’s always a lesson to be learned. 

What is Decision Making?

A simple definition of decision making is the act of choosing between two or more courses of action. It can also mean choosing between possible solutions to a problem. 

You can make decisions through either an intuitive or reasoned process or a combination of the two.


Intuition is often described as a “gut feeling” but it is actually a combination of past experience and your values. It is usually based on your perceptions instead of reality. When using your intuition it helps if you can figure out the why of how you’re feeling. What is is that is causing you to lean one way or the other?


When you use reasoning you are using facts and figures to help make the decision. You look at things from all angles to get a good perspective on the issue or problem. Reasoning leaves emotion out of the equation. 

Different decisions require one or the other of process and some require both.

What Can Prevent Decision Making?

There are several things that can prevent or hinder decision making. 

  • Too Much Information – Sometimes you can be bombarded with so much information that you lose sight of the forest for the trees. This can lead to snipe hunting as you chase irrelevant information instead of making a decision.
  • Too Little Information – It’s very hard to make a reasoned decision when you don’t have enough information. In these times you either have to rely on intuition or postpone the decision.
  • Procrastination – Not only does procrastination hurt decision making, but it hurts many other areas of your life. Sometimes we think we can take the easy road by delaying or not making a tough decision. Maybe we hope the problem will just go away. Heads up – This rarely, if ever, works.
  • Codependency – A simplistic definition of this condition is that you desire people to like you so much that you make decisions based on how you think other people feel about you. This is a terrible way to live and definitely not a good way to run a business.


Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work. – Steven Pressfield. Do the Work 

In his books, The War of Art and Do the Work, author Steven Pressfield talks about resistance and how it keeps work from being done. One reason that work isn’t done is because decisions aren’t made. Resistance tells you:

  • You aren’t smart enough.
  • You don’t have enough information.
  • You’re not the one to make the decision. 
  • It’s a stupid decision anyway.
  • What’s the hurry? It can wait.

Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act. – Steven Pressfield. Do the Work

This has been my biggest enemy to success over the last 22 years in business. The inability to pull the trigger and just make a decision.

So I entreat you.