Making tough decisions

The auction I had planned for last night was cancelled due to the forecast of bad weather. It was not a decision I wanted to make. We had spent the day before setting up for the auction, and we had some nice, quality items that should have sold well. But, the weatherman was predicting 2-4 inches of snow (we got 2), and more importantly wind gusts of 30-40 miles an hour and the temperatures dropping down into the single digits. That would have required buyers coming out in dangerous conditions, and I didn’t want to ask them to do that.

Once I made the decision to cancel the auction we had to go back to the rented facility and tear everything back down, re-box it, and haul it back into storage for another auction. I began to call my regulars to tell them about the cancellation and post it on social media. I also had several people call asking if it was still on. Two days work and nothing to show for it. This was not how I wanted 2016 to begin!

These are the kinds of tough decisions small business owners must make sometimes. I could have gone ahead with the auction, and people would have come, but the crowd would have been smaller. Smaller crowds often mean lower prices. That would not have been fair to the consignors who trusted me to sell their items. It was also not fair to ask people to come out in potentially dangerous conditions. So, I made the decision to cancel the auction and take the financial hit of my advertising costs and labor costs for set-up and tear down.

Making tough decisions was not something I did easily when I owned a previous business, and that may be one reason the business failed. I allowed others to make those decisions. Sometimes their decisions were the same that I would have made, sometimes not. Refusing to make tough decisions around personnel, marketing, pricing, and service kept the company drifting along until we finally ran aground. Losing a business, and knowing that it could have been prevented, was a very painful experience and one that I never want to make again. You can read about this issue and other mistakes I made that led to the closing of that business in my book Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions that Will Close Your Small Business. This e-book is available for either your Kindle or NOOK devices.

Honestly, I don’t enjoy making tough decisions, but I now know that goes with the territory. Making these decisions may cause short-term pain, but in the long run they will lead to greater success in whatever you do.

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