Decide Already! Indecision Gobbles Up Profits

This week’s Newsletter is brought to you by the letter “D.” Demur. Defer. Decide. We’ll look at how these behaviors impact company success.I’ve been thinking of these words because there are just over 30 days left in 2019. Business Owners are reviewing this year and looking ahead to next year.

What initiatives, plans or investments did you plan to institute this year? Which of these did you demur or defer? What decisions did you make that allowed you to act or relieve yourself from the burden of carrying?

Most importantly, what are you going to do for 2020 that will make it your best year ever? (Remember, if the company is not growing, it is dying a slow death.)


To demur is to show reluctance or to hesitate. Since January, what were you reluctant to think about, plan or do? Did you have opportunities you hesitated about? Changes you were reluctant to make?

Maybe you demurred on some of these things:

  • Adding value to current products and services. It’s hard; we don’t know what value our buyers would like; we don’t have time to divert from delivering our current services; we’re uncomfortable with that level of risk. “Maybe we’ll just wait.”
  • Making a major commitment to your marketing efforts. After all, you know your customers so well; you have high ratings online; your customers and clients come back. “Maybe things will get better on their own.”
  • Choosing a cash accumulation financial approach, instead of a tax reduction approach. Most CPAs bend your ear incessantly about tax planning to reduce taxable income; and the other business owners you know also focus on tax planning. “Let me think about it.”


To defer is to put off. You had plans, you had money, you had people, yet you still put things off, let them slide, put on the back burner or otherwise failed to implement.

Maybe you deferred some of these things:

  • Implementing your 12-month Evergreen Client campaign in order to appreciate your current clients and customers; remind them why they love doing business with your company; keep your company top of mind; and create demand for new purchases. You did it for one or two months and then stopped.
  • Establishing company policy so that every sale, without exception, generates a meaningful profit. No more break-evens or loss leaders; no more price reductions just to get a sale over a competitor; no more added value that you aren’t getting compensated for.
  • Analyzing your Strategic, Operations and Financial functions to identify where there are gaps between them. The gaps can leak millions of dollars without your even realizing it. Surely it is worth making time and putting in the effort to find the gaps and close them.


The alternative to demurring or deferring is deciding. You have two choices: yes or no. Yes, we go for it or no, we do not. The beauty of deciding is that it relieves you of the burden of indecision.

When you decide No, you discard the idea from your mind and make room for something else.

When you decide Yes, you create a plan and incorporate it into the company’s daily life. It is no longer a burden but an opportunity.

You identify a need, a problem or a goal. You ask three questions:

  • What does success look like?
  • What do we need to have to achieve that success?
  • How will get what we need?

Once you have the answers, you decide to start implementation or execution. No demurring or deferring until you have more time, or there is more money, or you find out what others in your industry are doing, or you check with your advisors, or ….

Why is Deciding So Difficult?

I have a lot of empathy for busy business owners. It takes a ton of energy and effort to build and run a 2, 5 or 10-million-dollar company. Keeping on top of the Strategic, Operational and Financial functions can leave little time for anything else. Add in the relationship-building that Owners (Partners, Founders, Principals, CEOs, Presidents) do and making decisions about new initiatives and efforts is easy to put off.

When I reflect on my own 20+ years of decision-making and all the many owners I’ve been privileged to work with, three reasons why it’s difficult to decide rise to the top:

  • We’re acculturated to work towards specific results. Most new initiatives can, at best, give you a general idea of what to expect after a year. This vagueness feels risky, so it seems more prudent to pass. What if we fail completely?
  • We want to understand or see the complete picture all at once. How will it work? What changes might we have to make once it’s underway? What if it goes off tack? What would it take to get it back? How will it impact other things we do?
  • We are comfortable with the way things are. Even if things today are not what we wish them to be, and we’re dissatisfied, deciding to implement something new is uncomfortable. What will it be like day-to-day? How will it change my work or daily life? What will my employees need that they don’t right now? What will our customers and clients want in response? How will our financials be affected? How will I change?

2020: Your Best Year Ever

As you review 2019 and look ahead to 2020, please do yourself and your company a huge favor: promise never to demur or defer again and to make decisions promptly and with confidence. That is the way that 2020 will be your best year ever.

Resolve is doing the right things every day, even when it’s not comfortable or there’s no clear picture of outcomes. We at Trivers Consulting Group supplement your resolve, born from more than 20 years of work with Business Owners who face the very same issues you are facing. If you find yourself wondering how you can avoid demurring and deferring and instead become confident in your decision-making, we’d be happy to work with you. Call us at 703-801-0345.