It’s nice when you seek expert advice from several sources and end up with consistent recommendations that both make intuitive sense and are in line with research you’ve done. But that doesn’t always happen; so what do you do when it doesn’t?
I knew that I needed some work done to my chimney flues. There were some early warning signs that time, weather and use were taking their toll. I called a company that specializes in this area. While their recommendation made sense, I had a feeling it wasn’t the only or even the best answer. I called another company. They had a long wait to get an inspection scheduled. I booked the appointment but was concerned about getting the work done in time for fireplace season. I made another call and explained the situation to the office manager. Rather than scheduling an appointment, she asked me to send the owner an email with details and pictures. He called me one evening a few days later. Based upon the pictures, he tended to agree that there was a better solution, so we scheduled a time for him to come to the house. We talked through the issues, and I was impressed with his approach. I also recalled seeing his recommended approach on one of the shows I watch about home repairs. And when the third company arrived, they had yet another approach (and as I suspected couldn’t put it on their schedule this year anyway).
When I mentioned this to my brother who lives in another city, he said one of his neighbors told him a nearly identical story. Three companies had suggested three different approaches to chimney repairs. So, how does one make a decision when getting disparate opinions especially on something important (a major part of the house containing fire) and expensive (trust me)?
Do some research. Read about the subject online. Talk to people in related fields who aren’t in a position to bid on the work. Talk to friends & colleagues who are likely to have had similar issues or experiences.
Ask questions of the vendors. Not just about what they are going to do but why they are choosing the specific approach they are recommending. What are the alternatives and why aren’t they choosing any of those options?
Think critically. What have you heard that makes sense to you and what doesn’t?
Clearly, my chimney story is just am example from my recent personal life. But in your business, you might be deciding upon:
- A capital expenditure such as a major piece of equipment or building expansion,
- Hiring a consultant or employee with a specific expertise,
- Expansion into a different geographic area or new product line, or
- Divestiture of an existing operation or acquisition or a new one.
When it’s an important and expensive decision, do sufficient research, ask questions, and think critically. The key is to come to a conclusion and proceed. No decision at all is rarely the best path!
If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected]
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