The importance of “gut feeling”

By | May 16, 2007

By a strange coincidence I have two clients who are currently thinking of opening their first cafes at the same time.  We have been looking at a variety of premises for both of them and both are narrowed down to one each.

They are in different markets so not competing but ultimately the same rules apply.  We look at the figures, we pick through the “market”, assess potential margins and see how the rent stacks up.  But at the end of the day in any new start like these you have to trust something else.  Something indenfinable.  You have to trust your “gut feeling.”

fat-belly-flop.jpg“My gut feeling is that this is going to hurt”

I was asked by one client what my “gut feeling” was about his new site.  Interestingly as I drove to the meeting I had asked myself the same question.  And the answer was “good“.  It’s hard to put it in words but as I look back over all the businesses I’ve opened myself and all those that I’ve advised for other people I know that the ones that I had a good “gut feeling” have all worked.  And nearly all those that I had a squirmy “Not quite sure about this but let’s just do it” feeling haven’t.

The gut feeling from the other site?  “Bad” – I’m afraid to say.  We will get a site but it just isn’t going to be the one we looked at today.  He has the same “bad” feeling too and knows to trust it.

There’s no real rhyme or reason to this.  But I think we all know a huge amount more about many situations and our own emotions than we sometimes allow ourselves to admit.  We are so bombarded by the chatter of daily life that we rarely sit down in total silence with just ourselves to think about business decisions.  And we really should.

We really need to sit there and just imagine theh finished article.  If it’s a crystal clear image of a successful cafe that we can see then very often that’s all that we need to push us over the edge.  If we see a finished cafe and only see freedom from a current lifestyle or the flaws of the new business then we have to really question the potential success.

So that’s it.  That’s todays deeply unscientific advice.  Trust your gut. 

One thought on “The importance of “gut feeling”

  1. Jim

    Great post. Too many consultants won’t ever say stuff like that. Too often they seem to just think it’s all about making the figures add up.

    I have never opened any business without a strong sense of “gut feeling”.

    Enjoy your posts greatly. Keep them coming.

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