Paul Quintero on Making Business Decisions

Having a tough time making decisions for your business? CEO of Accion East Paul Quintero believes that it's all about being level-headed.

Video Transcript

In terms of how to make decisions that are level headed, not too emotional, not too conservative, that, that's more art than science. What I can tell you is that making good decisions is probably a better focus and we all know that when you're heated, emotional, tired, cranky it's probably not the best time to make a decision. So if you want to minimize mistakes don't rush to judgment, give yourself 24 hours before making a major decision – I say major because some things don't have 24 hours. If you have to buy the meat for the sandwiches you can't wait a day, so you have to use some judgment in terms of what's important and what's not. The other thing is try as much as you can to base your decisions on fact because, because on the point of emotion, we all have emotions and we all have ideas. We just don't know those ideas are good and so just like great, great minds think alike, so do lesser minds. And so you have to be careful and the only way to guard that is to try, where possible, to make your decision fact-based. And when we talk about fact based try, therefore, to measure what it is you're trying to manage. There's a saying that you can't manage what you don't measure. And so putting in systems that can measure information to make decisions is important. Now let me put all these abstract concepts into practice. I helped, when I was in school, a stationary business up in Harlem and one of the problems the stationary business has is she seemed to have been losing money, couldn't manage the operation and really didn't understand why. When I took a look at how she managed the business what I noticed is she didn't really have a good inventory management of her cards. And she didn't do it because it took a lot of time. And I said, well, so how do you know which cards sell? And how do you know which cards you should get rid of? And how do you know – and so we set up a process of managing turn so that A) she could order cards on time; B) make sure that the fast sellers, you know, she was buying – but it was information so that she could make thoughtful, useful decisions. I'll give you another example of where measuring was really important. I worked with a business owner that, it was a bar. And in this particular instance they felt, the owners felt, they weren't making enough money, they couldn't figure out why. They're pricing it right, they're selling it, the place is popular – why aren't they making money? So we started to measure inventory at the bar and what we noticed was we would compare how many receipts of sales were shown to how much volume should have been related to the receipts. So, for example, if you have a drink, one shot, there's so many shots to bottle, you can estimate. And what happened was we learned that the servers were being extra generous in their pouring to get bigger tips. Very good because people were happy and people kept coming, but also very bad for the owner because they were losing a lot of valuable inventory, which is in the form of alcohol. So an inventory management system allowed the managers to really understand what was moving, what was not, and why. So those things. Don't rush to judgment on important things. Measure what you want to manage. Try to make decisions based on fact versus fiction those are probably three immediate ways to make sure that you're level headed. And then, in terms of whether it's conservative or not conservative, that's really probably more of a personal style, but you always want to make decisions that are going to be net positive and don't worry about, I would say, being perfect, worry about making a good decision. If you're 80 percent there don't sweat the 20, you know, just make sure you're above 50.

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