The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “When making a tough business decision, how do you know when to trust your gut?” is written by Pat Peterson, founder and CEO of Agari.
When running a business, there are many instances you’ll have to decide whether to make a reserved decision or trust your gut and take a risk. I’ve often been told to do the latter, and today, will continually tell aspiring entrepreneurs the same. That nagging inkling you have at the onset of a decision can be the catalyst for the ultimate success of your company. Trusting your intuition can be a powerful means for deciding to go all in on an opportunity amongst naysayers, or to quickly turn it away.
Each of us, in our personal and professional lives, has felt those pangs of inspiration. How often do you trust them? As a founder and CEO, I’m constantly faced with pushing limits, overruling otherwise reasonable objections, and making the tough decisions. In my experience, if you’re not willing to trust your gut and go beyond limits already in place, you’ll never establish a successful company. Trusting your intuition is often times the best way to ensure that you’re doing the right thing for the business.
Trusting your gut in a data-driven world
We live in a data-driven world, with advertisers using consumer data to drive campaigns, cybercriminals using data to target attacks on brands and government entities, and businesses trolling data to gain insights on their customers. Data provides insights we couldn’t access 15 years ago. But even though astute, informed decisions result from having this data, when it comes to making business decisions, trusting your intuition will usually drive you in the best direction. The best thing you can do as a leader is to look at the best information available and trust that your gut feeling on the decision will be proven correct in the long run.
Think fast, but don’t bail fast
Studies have shown that the longer people mull over big decisions, they are less satisfied than if they had simply—and quickly—gone with their gut. While it may feel counter-intuitive, when it comes to those big business decisions, the less you contemplate, the faster you can determine if you made the right choice. Once you’ve put a stake in the ground, however, don’t just sit back and watch things unfold. Take an active role in helping to ensure its success. If you find that things aren’t going the way you had hoped, look for creative ways to turn it around.
If you’re in a leadership and decision-making role, it’s likely because you have the experience and know-how. While questioning decisions is natural—and a good way to keep yourself in check—it is also essential to trust the little voice inside. Trusting your gut is often times the best way to ensure you’re doing the right thing for your business.