Fools Rush In

My oldest son, Michael, who many of you have met at my booth at one of the ARA shows, is now a Marine serving in Iraq. My wife, his brothers and I are so proud of him. After 9/11, he decided that if his country needed him he would be ready and joined the Marine Reserves. Even though he has experienced war in Fallujah and is away from family and friends, he doesn't complain and doesn't seek the spotlight. He is doing (like all the other soldiers there) many humanitarian good deeds. He is happy he made this important decision. But he didn't make it lightly.

Making the right decisions in your business is also very important, both to your family and others who depend on the success of your company. In fact, the health of the economy and security of our nation depends on all of us making sound business decisions.

It's normal and natural for a good businessperson to weigh options carefully. Making a flood of rash decisions can wash away the opportunity and can ruin a business. This is true no matter how positive and resilient the business has been in the past. Indeed, “only fools rush in…”

Why you don't decide

One of the reasons some stay on the fence too long is that there are almost too many, very promising business opportunities and, of course, the resources needed to tap these opportunities are not unlimited. Not only is there plenty of “low hanging fruit” on the tree, but you might also believe that there are plenty of other trees in this condition within close proximity.

Another reason why you might find it difficult to make certain big decisions is that there are so many other day-to-day operational decisions you're already making. You might be so active in running the operation as it is now that you feel you can't stop “spinning the plates” already on the sticks to make new opportunity decisions.

Some decisions are fun and easy to make while others are so important or so equal in “pros and cons” that they can be agonizing. So, some rental business operators and managers put off making the decision.

Seeking professional help

>The wise decision-maker gathers information from a variety of sources before proceeding in one direction or another. History is indeed a wonderful teacher but always learning from one's own mistakes is one of the costliest and most painful ways to learn. Therefore, my recommendation is to get a second opinion for the bigger decisions from a professional rental business consultant who has consulted with a large number (at least 100) of equipment rental businesses.

You are looking for a broad range of experience so you can see opportunity from a variety of different angles. Friends and relatives are good listeners and are supportive, but are they objective enough? Also, even if they have a rental background, have they witnessed enough of the “what was tried and what were the results” in a wide variety of equipment rental business situations to offer sound advice for your unique operation?

A rental business consultant can help you to prioritize what fruit to go after on the tree, which trees will bear the most fruit, and even whether it makes sense to purchase another orchard. I've found that the rental business operators with the sharpest business instincts are the most likely to ask me for my opinion.

Another idea is to put together a short-term and long-range plan. The use of good goal setting techniques helps to keep opportunities from staying in decision-making limbo too long.

Don't put off making an important decision too long. Make the decision to make better decisions. Make it a great year.