What makes a small business work?
Whether it is information about clients, about projects, about people, about jobs, about plans, or about goals, that information has to move throughout the business for everybody to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
But when is information reliable? Here are two good sources and one bad source of your business information.
Data as information
Data is all external to you. Data is something you have to find, collect, and probably organize and trim.
On its own, it doesn’t tell you much, but once you have selected which data are relevant, you will analyze it to learn lessons about the given subject matter, and to make decisions for the future.
Data is not born in your head; it happens as a consequence of actions and activities.
Instinct as information
Instinct is born entirely inside you.
Instinct is like a nudge, it is a feeling that makes you stop and think.
It is the accumulation of knowledge, and experience, and stories that you have collected throughout your life so far. It is everything that has come before.
Instinct feels almost like a conversation with yourself, but the reception on the call might be a little spotty. It is not a clear, printed message, but rather something you feel or know to be true, just because.
Instinct is valid information because it is based on real experience.
Impulse as peer pressure
Do not confuse impulse for instinct.
Impulse is highly reactive. It does not pause to consider data, it often goes against long-standing instinct, and it never properly considers alternatives, habits, or outcomes.
Impulse usually comes suddenly and wants us to act quickly. it is about what is shiniest or what is easiest, rather than what is real.
How to use information
Data and instinct are opposites in many ways.
One is external to you, the other internal. One is objective, the other highly subjective.
And both play an important role in your business decision-making.