Decision making under uncertainty - a confused student


Decision making when things are calm is not the same as decision making under uncertainty. Because when it’s business as usual, you pretty much just follow the strategy laid out in your business plan, and take action that you’ve planned out beforehand.

But let’s face it, although every business goes through periods when things are running like clockwork, there will certainly be times that will be challenging. This, by the way, is part an parcel of running a business. And the challenges will come in different shapes and sizes. For example, not knowing if we’re going to keep certain clients, changes in costs due to prices going up, etc. 

It is those things that will take unpredictability or uncertainty a notch higher. As a result, we will feel the anxiety kicking in.

However, regardless of the situation, in business it’s essential to make decisions quickly and efficiently.

In this video, I go through the steps you need to take to make rational decisions when everything is going crazy around you.

Here’s a summary of them:

Stay calm, or become calmer

Going back to the anxiety I mentioned above, it is vital to try to stay as calm as possible. Should you not, you’re bound to make catastrophic decisions for your business at one point or another.

Having a rational approach at times of uncertainty will help your decision making tremendously.

Assess the situation to ease decision making under uncertainty

Look at your situation, current and future. Think about what kind of impact the current situation has on your business. What affects you, and what doesn’t? Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a clearer picture of what needs doing.

Look at your numbers 

Get closer to your best friend in business, your numbers. This is closely connected to making a good assessment of the situation. Your numbers are going to give you a good indication of where you might need to adjust things. However, it’s necessary to say that you shouldn’t get overburdened with numbers. So, you want to only be looking at relevant numbers.

Decision making under uncertainty using your cash flow plan

Put together and use your financial cash flow plan. It’s going to prevent you from crashing and burning. Your cash flow plan will guide you to the problem areas. Hence, you’ll be able to create an action plan that is going to put out the fires.

Don’t panic

Lastly, don’t be like a rabbit in the headlights, that won’t help. Being paralysed with fear is not going to allow you to make any decisions at uncertain times. The best thing to do is try to detach yourself from the situation and approach it rationally. Now, I know that’s easier said than done. But, just remember that panicking is your enemy, and you just might snap out of it when it hits.


So, how do you make rational decisions when your buttocks tighten and the fan is being hit? How do you keep your head on straight and navigate a path to success when everything around you feels uncertain? It can be tough, but it’s not impossible. All these tips for staying rational and keeping your focus during chaotic times are closely related to one another. 

What’s most important is that you remind yourself of them at times of uncertainty so that the decisions you make are for the best of your business. 

Stay sanguine and sane during turbulent business waters.

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