Analysis Paralysis is Not a Friend to Your Business


Have you ever analyzed a business option up one side and down the other, wanting to make the best decision only to find you are stalled and not making any movement forward?

I think we’ve all been there are one time or another. Some people tend towards perfectionism and I’m certainly not going to suggest that you dive into a new venture, social media network, or new advertising or marketing plan without careful and strategic planning.

Focusing on too many little things is sometimes a sign that the busy work is keeping you stuck on ‘little things’ rather than saying it’s ‘good enough.’

Move onto the bigger strategies that will really make a difference in your business.

For example, when I opened my first café, I wanted it to be the “Nordstrom” of bakeries. This included high end cabinetry with shiny floors, top quality products and the very best customer service. I hold a high standard for any business or product I am associated with. Yet with each new big step, there is fear. What if it doesn’t work? What if this isn’t the right direction? What if I fail? That’s where analysis paralysis comes in.

To bring more clarity here’s how Wikipedia defines analysis paralysis:

The state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or “perfect” solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, while on the way to a better solution.

Look familiar? You’re not alone. As you’re planning and preparing your business you might be questioning a lot of things — your branding, website, how to build a list, who you will network with, ect.

In order to be successful and move forward you need a clear direction with minimal distractions. Today I have ten steps on how to get better results with the right decision making skills.

1 Let go of being right all of the time

It’s a natural human inclination to have the correct answer to everything. Some struggle with this more than others. But this can be a big hindrance to moving your business forward and learning from mistakes. Decide today that mistakes are a part of growth — and know ahead of time that these will happen, especially if you are working with multiple clients. With this expectation in mind you will be able to better handle issues that arise with honesty and transparency.

2 Find out what’s driving your current decisions

We all come from different backgrounds, education levels, beliefs, demographic regions, ect. This shapes how we build our business and the types of actions we take to move forward. Which of these areas can you change in order to have more focus in your planning? This may take a short of period of time to map out what’s been working and what hasn’t. Take a look at what other successful companies are doing in your industry and invest in courses that can help you make better decisions. It pays to invest in yourself in order to get to the place you need to be.

3 Free up your memory with less pressure

In a study by Miami University and Michigan State University of high-powered people it was revealed that those who were under more pressure had a decrease in their thought process — most notably a reduction in their ability to remember, which negatively affected their performance. Over thinking can create anxiety and lead to second guessing your decisions. When we use up all of our working memory we are less productive. If you find yourself getting to that point take a step back and choose a different task — even a break or nature walk. It’s tempting to keep going until your problem is solved, but this can actually become a set back in your progress.

4 Don’t “got it alone”

Whether you are a solo business owner or a part of a company it takes a village to generate the best ideas and help move your company forward. If you have a mentor or coach to turn to you can learn things you may not have thought of before. The saying, “two heads are better than one” proves to be true in many circumstances. Find someone you can trust to help get you out of a rut and bring a fresh view to your project(s).

5 Schedule brainstorming sessions

Instead of using a large block of time to make a decision create specified times throughout your work day — this could be 15 minutes at a time or a half an hour. Our minds tend to shut down after a certain amount of time. Your thoughts and ideas aren’t going anywhere — remember you can always come back to them later with a different perspective.

6 Minimize the amount of research involved

Too much information can quickly derail your original thought process and bog down creativity and flow. With so much information available to us through search and social media we can get lost in the data. Before diving into a fact finding mission determine what you need to know first and remove any irrelevant topics. Remember that the information gathered should serve the purpose of moving your business actions forward.

7 The time is now to get started

If your business is starting something new then thinking too much about the right time to start can perpetually put your plans on hold. Tomorrow may not be the perfect time to begin, but you can do something each day to move forward. This will keep you centered on the goal without procrastinating and will eventually become the right timing. There’s no perfect formula or date — just start today!

8 Get your eyes off the problems

It’s natural for many of us to be in constant problem-solving mode — this actually moves us toward what’s going wrong instead of thinking about where you want your business to be. For example, instead of naming all of the reasons why you are not making enough sales create a list of positive strategies that will open new doors of opportunity. Begin to see your business as successful and eventually you will see that manifested in your life.

9 Work on the most important decisions first

If all of your decisions are of utmost importance then these can become overwhelming and will appear as if they will never become resolved. Instead place your energies toward the most pressing issues first and set the rest aside. This may be hard for over-achievers, but by letting go of the smaller stuff you will have more freedom to tackle what’s at the top of the list first without delay. Knowing the consequence will help you determine what to focus on first.

10 Remove the doubt

Once you have made a decision keep moving forward and don’t look back second guessing. Remember, it’s okay to make a mistake and you’ll never find out if your plan is going to work unless you start moving things forward. Risk is healthy for business and for some this may seem like a hasty method — in actuality, it’s the commitment to take action that will bring the most success even as problems arise. Be brave. Move forward. Take the plunge!

If you have been finding that your business has been stuck and not moving forward the way you would like it to you may be suffering from analysis paralysis. Take a look at each of the steps above to discover what areas you can overcome in order to make decisions with confidence and a positive focus.