Basic instinct: Study reveals Australian entrepreneurs make decisions based on gut feelings

Basic instinct: Study reveals Australian entrepreneurs make decisions based on gut feelings

New research released today by GoDaddy reveals most Australian entrepreneurs rely heavily on their instincts when it comes to making decisions about their business.  

Alongside business acumen, research, analysis and experience, Australian entrepreneurs need to assess many factors before making an informed decision; this new study has tried to quantify how much instinct plays in these choices.

According to GoDaddy, most respondents confirmed they rely on their gut feeling daily to guide them in their thought processes.

As entrepreneurs were forced to react to new challenges brought on by the pandemic, three quarters (78 per cent) of the more than 1,000 respondents believe trusting their impulses has positively impacted their business. In contrast, only one per cent of respondents believe it had a negative impact.

Demonstrating how often entrepreneurs are required to make choices, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) responded they trust their instincts to make business decisions ‘most days’, while 84 per cent do so at least once a week.

“Whether it’s the decision to start a business or to overcome challenging situations, our research shows that instinct and assuredness are crucial for Australia’s entrepreneurs,” GoDaddy Australia managing director Tamara Oppen said.

“The last two years have presented some of the toughest challenges entrepreneurs have ever faced, yet data from ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) revealed that business registrations were higher than pre-pandemic levels.

“Empowered by instinct and driven by the pursuit of their dreams, entrepreneurial Aussies are demonstrating the power of possibility when ‘we go for it’.”

According to the research, the most common instinctive decisions business owners make are pricing changes (reported by 30 per cent), business strategy (30 per cent), investments (28 per cent), and hiring (24 per cent).

When hiring new staff, twice as many respondents (41 per cent vs 20 per cent) prioritise soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, which can contribute to instinct, compared to hard skills like a degree or digital skills.

This ties in with the experience of entrepreneur William Strange, founder and CEO of Sports Performance Tracking (SPT). He spoke to Business News Australia earlier this month about what he looks for when hiring new staff.  

“We target the right character traits, less about experience or less about specifics, and then we'll build that into them,” Strange explained.

“We can build capability and skill, as long as they want to do the work and they can organise themselves because the second they get busy, you can't have things slip.

“From that perspective, what we do is we look at a profile of who are SPT employees and fit within our culture, and our culture is being passionate about what we do and being highly organised.

When it comes to establishing a new business, 85 per cent of respondents agreed instincts are ‘important’ or ‘very important’ in their decision making.

Experience plays an essential factor as older entrepreneurs are more likely to rely on their instincts than younger demographics.

Three in four (76 per cent) 18 to 24-year-olds said they started their business based on instinct compared with 93 per cent of those aged 65 and over.

Fifty-four per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said they relied on their instincts ‘most days’, compared to 75 per cent of those aged 45-64. 

Victoria-based co-owner of Barkery Deluxe Dog Treats, Roxane Coutts, started her business based on instinct after deciding she wanted more freedom and a better work-life balance.

“Starting a business can feel like a daunting move, but it’s been one of the most rewarding and worthwhile decisions we’ve ever made,” Coutts said.

“As a business owner, it’s incredibly important to plan and prepare, but there comes a stage when you just have to back yourself.

“Trusting our instincts has been fundamental to every major decision we’ve made in connection to our business.”

One potential red-flag entrepreneurs might want to consider is whether they are being critically objective of any positive bias in play, as the research confirms respondents believe instinctive decisions have led to an overwhelmingly positive impact on business success.

The research was conducted by Antenna and was carried out amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,015 Australian entrepreneurs, small business owners and ‘side hustlers’ in December 2021.

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