One of the most overlooked elements of starting up your own business is following your gut instinct. You can go to as many business masterclasses as you want and read as many entrepreneur guides and tutorials as you like – but following your gut instincts is something that cannot be taught by someone else, no matter how much expertise they have.
One of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, Steve Jobs once said: “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
But why should you follow your gut feelings as a business leader or entrepreneur? And is it really worth the risk? To find out, Hana Johansen, co-founder of natural remy hair extensions brand Gee Hair shares her top reasons why following your gut is so important in business.
When it comes to making important decisions in the world of business, whether it’s hiring, firing, investing or deciding on a new strategy, there’s always a lot to take into consideration. From financial implications to brand image and the wellbeing of your staff. The aim of the following points is to help you be more mindful of your gut instincts as well as taking logic and reason into account when making important decisions, both in terms of your business and your personal life.
Your intuition is more accurate than you’d think
Trusting your gut may sound like a pretty abstract notion to many analytical thinkers, particularly those who work in a data-driven field that relies heavily on evidence and experience. However, we can’t always rely on data alone, and as we know, the past is not always predictive of the future.
A study conducted by Kandasamy et al in 2016 looked at the way in which hedge fund traders on a London trading floor perceived their interoceptive signals in the body (the signals that sense hunger, pain, warmth, etc). The researchers did this by asking the traders to silently count their heartbeat whilst taking a real reading. The study found that those with higher interoceptive accuracy (whose predictions were closest to matching their actual heartbeats) demonstrated higher profitability than those with lower accuracy. Therefore this suggests that signals from the body – our gut feelings – contribute to higher levels of success in the markets.
Going with your cut can be quicker and more effective
Often in business, we don’t always have the time we need to weigh up all of our options, go back through the data and look over the facts presented to us again and again. If we did, we wouldn’t have time to do everything else we need to get done in a day. And more often than not, a number of decisions need to be made at the same time and by not-so lenient deadlines (and people wonder why business owners experience such high levels of stress!)
This is where intuition comes in. Coupled with the context, experience, your judgement and of course the facts, your gut feeling can be the deciding factor that can help you reach an informed decision in a reliable way when needing to make quick decisions.
Look where it got them
A study conducted by Fortune Knowledge Group found that 62% of business executives feel it’s often necessary to rely on gut feelings and soft factors when making big decisions on partnerships and proposals. What’s more, many successful entrepreneurs such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Ford’s founder Henry Ford also lived by the mantra of listening to their gut instincts when making big and albeit risky business decisions that paid off tenfold.
Even Sir Richard Branson, one of the most successful business magnates of all time has spoken about trusting his gut instincts, saying “I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics”.
As shown in the above examples, many successful business leaders and entrepreneurs swear by a reliance on both cognition and intuition when it comes to making important business decisions. So why not give it a go and have a think about your decision making processes, and how much they rely on your gut feeling.