When Should I Trust My Gut in Business?
This week, I got this critical question: When should I still trust my gut, even when everyone tells me not to?
ere's what's going on:
- I have a naming client (let's call her Jamie) who is debating between two of three names I provided as part of my signature Business Naming and Tagline Recommendation Process.
- Torn between a name Jamie loved and one she thought might be less personal / more marketable, she surveyed past customers and friends / family at my suggestion.
- Past customers, friends and family loved the more marketable name, but she's still torn.
So Jamie asked me what I would do. After listening to her love for the other name and how it felt so much more "her" - I gave her my best advice and ended up having to follow it myself just hours later.
What did I tell Jamie?
I told her, "Go with your gut" - even though past clients liked a different name.
Here's why - it was the situation.
Both names were strong choices, available online and fit the story of her business. It came down to a name that was more focused on the clients' benefit and one more focused on Jamie - the value she adds as the business owner and creative behind the business.
Generally, I'd be recommending that she prioritize what her clients said they liked and a name that suits the benefit her business provides.
But I didn't advise that to Jamie - and this is because of how Jamie lights up at the more personal, more her-focused name. Even over the phone, I could sense a huge shift in confidence and vision when she talked about the more personal name.
And here's what I realized upon hearing that...
Nothing beats confidence in what you're doing.
Surveys, strategy, client perspective... these are all helpful things, but they are not everything. Confidence can be everything. It can be the power behind your engine that makes everything possible.
I could see that this other, more personal name gave Jamie abundant confidence. And I became confident, that even though it wasn't the most strategic choice on paper, it was the best choice - because it would empower her. And there is no business without her.
As ironic as it was, I was taking my own medicine on this the next day - when I chose my gut over my brain.
Shortly after I advised Jamie, I was faced with an ironically similar challenge. I'm launching a brand new, monthly workshop here in Durham this month.
I was torn what to call it. I was tempted to do another "Small Business" event after hosting both "Small Business Gut Check" and "Small Business Best Foot Forward." Maybe "Small Business Brand Chat?" "Small Business Brand Boost?"
But y'know, after wrestling with it - even surveying some close friends - I realized - I just wanted a simple name that spoke to the interactive, fun nature of the event and made it easy to say. It's more personal than I usually do, but right now - for this - it's absolutely perfect.
It's called "Branding with Annie" and I hope you'll come check it out sometime if you're ever up in Durham.
(FYI: The first "Branding with Annie" is Monday, May 15! More deets / free tickets at www.greateststoryevents.com / those in NC Triangle will get a special message about it from me soon).
So what's your next move? When will you choose your gut over your brain?
Most days, it is all about being strategic. Just remember, sometimes - the best strategy is trusting yourself and going with your gut.
Great Articles and Resources for Further Reading:
- "A Checklist For Making Faster, Better Decisions" from Harvard Business Review
- "9 Ways to Make Decisions with Confidence" from Success.com
- "The Hidden Power in Trusting Your Gut Instincts" from FastCompany