Going with your gut

Sometimes, small business owners have no choice but to make a decision based purely on feel.

At SmallBusiness.co.uk, we sometimes talk to owner-managers facing what could be a make-or-break decision for their company.

These dilemmas only come along once in a while, but when they do come, you probably won’t be able to think about much else from dawn to dusk.

This week, for example, I spoke to a lady offering beauty treatments from someone else’s hairdressing salon, who was in two minds about whether she could afford to spread her wings and open her own premises.

On one side of the scales was ambition: she could achieve so much more with her own shop with its own sign and window display.

On the other side was a very natural worry about all the extra expenses that come with your own premises, from business rates to insurance and utility bills.

If your business is at a crossroads like this, sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling, even if it flies in the face of received wisdom. James Halliburton is one of the handful of Dragon’s Den contestants who rejected the dragons’ offers and went on to be successful without their support.

His Illoom balloons, which light up when inflated, are now stocked by major supermarkets and toy shops.

He must congratulate himself every day on refusing to sell Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis a 25 per cent stake in his business for £200,000. But at the time, how many people would have had the guts to make that decision, rejecting not just the cash but all the connections and experience the dragons are supposed to offer?

See also: How to survive the Dragons’ Den

Like getting married or moving to another part of the country, these are the sort of decisions that are going to define the rest of your life. If you’re facing one of these agonising dilemmas, don’t suffer in silence – get in touch with our panel of experts who will do their best to guide you in your soul-searching.

And remember, it’s almost always better to make a decision and get behind it, rather than simply put it off.

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Business management

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