How many times have you made a serious decision based on your gut feeling? Or played a hunch? Or followed your inner spirit guide?
While making a decision based on your gut feeling may seem like a good idea, you need to make sure you have as much pertinent, factual, real-world based information before you make a final decision.
Thinking about attending a conference for the first time, or even the 10th time? It’s not just a matter of how awesome the people are, or the warm fuzzy feeling you get from seeing all your friends again. Did you get a return on the investment? Did you increase sales, or get any money-making opportunities from it? If you did, then go again. If not, stay home and put the money toward something more useful.
Or what about keeping a regular blog? Are you getting sales leads from it? Or selling books? Or increasing web traffic and search engine ranks? Check your Google Analytics score to see if you’re getting the kind of traffic you want, and figure out what you need to do if you want to increase it. If you’re not getting anything, you either need to put more effort into it, or drop it completely.
And how about increasing book sales, white paper downloads, or email newsletter subscriptions from guest blog posts? Worth it or waste of time? Set up a special Bitly link and measure the number of clicks from the Bitly link to your selected pages. While this may not be a completely accurate way of measuring sales (i.e. you don’t know if all the Bitly clicks resulted in sales or subscriptions, or if they were from other sources), you can at least get a pretty good idea of what kind of traffic you’re getting. No clicks means no traffic, which means you need to optimize better or find a different way to promote yourself.
You may even be considering hiring someone into your company. While a good gut feeling is very important in hiring new people — because you want to be able to relate to them easily and comfortably — you still need to know how well they’ll perform. Consider using a personality assessment to see if their personality and style will fit with your organization’s. Work with candidates to see how much value they brought to their previous employer — did they increase revenue or save money? Do they bring new ideas to the table, or do they prefer to only be told what to do, and can’t make a decision on their own? If they produced, and you like them, they’re a good fit. If they didn’t produce, it doesn’t matter how much you like them, they probably won’t produce for you either.
Before you embark on a new venture, or try to give up an old one, make sure you make the decision based on cold, hard facts, not gut feelings. While some people believe that gut feelings are nothing more than our intuition based on our subconscious processing of the facts, you know what works better? Conscious processing of the facts. Make sure you have them on hand before you decide anything.
Even if you do follow your intuition in making new decisions, make sure you can back those decisions up with logic, statistics, and results. This way, you can be sure you’re making the best, most informed decision you can.
Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself and No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing. His third book, The Owned Media Doctrine, will be available this summer.