It is not always about making good or bad decisions. The problem many businesses have is that they’ve made the decision to do nothing. I see it in my own business, too. We think, perhaps, that if we just wait long enough the problem will go away or a solution will appear. Or we’re just overwhelmed by the number of options that we take too much time deciding what to do. But good things rarely happen without some action. Just thinking about it doesn’t make it happen. (Sorry, followers of The Secret.)

Many of us tell ourselves things such as:

  • I’ll consider some new prospecting ideas later next year,
  • I’ll plan my 2012 marketing later.
  • I’ll hire a new staff member later when things are better.
  • I’ll redo my website to make it more attractive to prospects later.
  • I’ll figure out how to get known in that niche later.
  • I’ll let others get going in social media before I jump in.
  • I’ll replace my underperforming staff member later—maybe he’ll get better.

Decision making, as we all know, is often thwarted by the uncertainty and fear that if a decision is made, it could be the wrong one, thus wasting money and time we can’t afford to waste. The truth is that successful companies take calculated risks and make more decisions that move them ahead than tentative, risk-averse companies. Look at Yellow Book, Borders and other slow-to-act companies, which suffered unenviable fates because of a lack of decision making. Companies that try to stay the same sometimes fail even at that. The key is to make decisions and move forward. That is the telltale sign of future success.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com.