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Thoughtful Contemplation

Difficult decision to make? Start with the end in mind

How to use reverse engineering to break through those tough business decisions.

As the Easter break approaches, you might be planning some time out to relax and enjoy time with your family and friends.

When we step back from the daily running of our businesses it can help to bring mental clarity and a renewed focus on those strategic decisions.


Not all business strategies are easy to execute.  

It can be a lonely place being a business owner unless you have someone to bounce your ideas off.

  • You may be contemplating to recruit new talent to grow your business
  • You may be contemplating whether now is the right time to develop that new revenue stream 

Whatever decision you are mulling over, it can be a daunting task to take it from your head and into real action.

It is all too easy for your contemplation to turn into procrastination.

We have some advice - the best place to start is with the end in mind.


To give you an example, I am going to share a recent tough decision that I had to make about my business.   First, I will give you a little bit of background. 

I acquired the business Sarah Booth HR in 2014.  This business was long established with a strong reputation and a substantial book of customers, a brand and a website. 

The business has grown year on year since 2014.

Following some research that I commissioned in late 2016 it became clear that the brand of Sarah Booth HR needed a re-think. 

Customers told our researchers three things:

  1.  the brand look and feel did not reflect the way I ran the business and engaged customers
  2.  the website wasn’t a valuable asset and
  3.  the brand name was confusing to new customers who didn't know the history

This research told me that changing the brand or the name would not be a high risk strategy. 

This was good news.  I now had a real choice to make.

I will admit that the very thought of undertaking a full rebrand with a rename was not a project I was relishing. 

I knew it would be a huge undertaking, potentially very distracting and requiring a good chunk of investment.

I was faced with a big decision.   

  • Should I proceed with a full rebrand as well as the new website?
  • Or do I go for something less demanding, as in a partial rebrand?

I knew that whichever way I went, this was a game changing moment for the business.  

No pressure then.

My opinion swung from one to the other almost daily and of course, I had advice coming at me from every angle.

Then it struck me.  I had been here before. 


In 2002 I bought a house. 

Almost immediately I wanted to put a beautiful wooden floor which ran through the lounge and dining room of the property. 

It would set off the traditional Victorian features of the house to a tee. 

There was no one to hold me accountable so I pressed ahead.

Down the wooden floor went and it was everything I had envisioned. 

Six months later, my attentions had turned to the kitchen project and I wanted to replace the electric cooker with a gas one. 

You can guess my reaction when the engineer told me that I could have a gas supply to the kitchen IF the beautiful wooden floor was ripped up for the gas pipe to be laid.


And there was my lesson.  

To start with the end in mind.


Had I just paused to think ahead, with the end in mind, and then consulted experts, maybe I would have had the gas supply to the kitchen AND my beautiful wooden floor. 

Yes I was young and inexperienced in renovating a house. It was a valuable life lesson. 

So when faced with the decision of a full or a partial rebrand, I took myself somewhere peaceful and I put the following scenario to myself:

  • It is now June 2018, and I made a decision last year to go with a partial rebrand, how do I feel about that decision today?

My answer came quickly.  It was a feeling of regret.

From that point there was only one direction to go in and that was down the route of the full rebrand. 

From that point forwards I had absolute clarity and there was no looking back.

As I write this, the new brand went live just a few days ago and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

  • Has it been a huge undertaking?  You bet.
  • Has it required a chunk of investment?  Absolutely.
  • Did I do the right thing?  Definitely.

So if you are facing a difficult decision about your business, try this.

Take yourself somewhere quiet with a pen and notebook; relax, close your eyes and ask yourself these four questions:

  1. If I take this decision, what can I expect to see, hear, feel, smell, taste?
  2. If I take this decision, what skills do I need to get on board to help me?
  3. If I take this decision now, will it grow my business in the longer term?
  4. What are the consequences of me NOT taking this decision?

Write it down.  This is essential. 

Whatever is in your head put onto paper.  It is the start of your plan.

  • Will sales have increased by 30%. 
  • Will you hear the tills ringing more often?
  • Will new markets be secured? If so which ones? 
  • What sort of people will you be trading with?
  • Will the team performance collectively increase? Is so, how will you evidence this increase?
  • Will a new product be ready to market? 
  • What is the product, the market, what does it look like, what will people be saying about this product?
  • How will you feel?
  • What will your balance sheet be showing?
  • What will your staff be saying to you?

Which decision are you going to reverse engineer?  

Take that first step.

Tracey Murphy - HR savvy, Managing Director

Tracy Green
Tracey Murphy
Managing Director
01772 600228
Ready for a conversation?
Published on: 28th March 2017
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