Gut Feeling The Key In Business Decisions, SME Owners Admit

Entrepreneurs Confess To Relying On Guesswork


Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

Instinct and intuition have been used to make business decisions more than data and logic, SME owners have admitted.

A report titled The Democratisation of Insight by Survey Monkey found 90 per cent of owners believe the kind of information-based decision making linked to detailed research was the preserve of large companies with extensive resources to carry out such studies.

Moreover, 36 per cent of SME owners lament that their companies do not possess the kind of data that would help with decision-making, while 81 per cent would love to have such information, if only they had the time and money to gather it.

This has led to 72 per cent of decisions being made on gut feeling rather than information, which would indicate such an approach is one most SME owners adopt out of necessity rather than preference.

Overall, 50 per cent of bosses said they use instinct alone to make decisions, whereas just ten per cent rely strictly on the data available to them.

The likely consequence of such decision making is a gap between the actual needs and wants of customers and what the business owners believe they are.

While the study found 92 per cent of respondents felt clients and customers were more sophisticated than ever and 98 per cent felt they were more demanding, only 30 per cent performed polls and just 32 per cent used social media to research their markets.

Fewer still (22 per cent) access market analyst reports, while just 15 per cent make use of big data.
Survey Money chief executive Dave Goldberg said business owners as a whole do not always regard data as reliable, with two-thirds expressing limited faith in the findings of surveys.

"However, many leaders also tell us that with regular access to fast, accurate customer insight, their businesses would be more agile, more competitive, more innovative and would ultimately grow faster," he concluded.

Expert Opinion
While small businesses may not have access to the same intelligence resources as their larger competitors, it is clear that SMEs should not rule out the importance of using data as a key tool to understand their markets and ensure they are able to properly plan for the future.

"It is often vital for ambitious SMEs to have such weapons in their armoury as they look to develop and expand their offerings – whether it is the case of speaking to a third party provider or alternatively running straw pools of its own.

"The gathering of such research is a key part of preparation for the future and goes hand-in-hand with speaking to relevant advisers such as lawyers to ensure that matters move in the right direction."
Steven Beahan, Partner