By Marcus Leach

Research released by T-Mobile shows that 56% of the UK’s small business owners would rely on gut instinct to make decisions about the future of their business.

The survey of 2,019 small business owners examines the factors affecting the decision making process, looking at the attitudes and personal feelings of small business owners towards change.

The results found that 56% of small business owners believe that nothing stops them making change in their business, and 36% initiate change more in their business life than in their personal life. The majority (81%) believe themselves to be optimistic by nature. This perhaps explains their proactive attitude to initiating change in their businesses. 23%, however, describe themselves as ‘being too busy’ to make positive changes to their business and 20% admit to worrying about change.

“Typically, small business owners have greater freedom in creating their own parameters and structures. This gives them a lot more room for freedom of thinking, which is often influenced by ‘gut instinct’ or ‘intuition’," leading business psychologist Mamta Saha said.

"These feelings are closely linked to passion and commitment to what you believe in, which can lead to an inner clarity or decisiveness. As many of us also have a tendency to over analyse situations, gut instinct can be extremely helpful in cutting through complexity and getting to the crux of what we are feeling about a decision. I would encourage small business owners to be confident in their decision-making and go for what they ‘feel’ is right.”

Phil McCabe, spokesperson for the Forum of Private Business believes one of the key strengths of small business owners is their ability to think on their feet.

“While sound planning is certainly good practice, one of the strengths of small business owners is that they can think on their feet and are more flexible when opportunities emerge," McCabe said.

"With the economy in recovery mode there’s no room for complacency or fear of the new. Clearly, gut instinct — combined with practical common sense and a willingness to use all available resources - plays an important role in the decision making process of many successful entrepreneurs.”

Martin Lyne, Director of SME at T-Mobile, believes there is the need to take a risk at times and make snap decisions.

“When it comes to making business decisions there’s always an element of risk and sometimes the resources and timing mean it is essential to make an instant decision," he said.

"We don’t want to lock our customers into long-term contracts when the future is unpredictable so we recently launched the UK’s first 6 month plan for business customers with a free phone. Through offering small business owners better value and more flexible price plans, suppliers can help free up small business owners’ time so they can focus on more pressing business decisions.”

While gut instinct is playing a key factor in the decision making process, a small minority of small business owners are turning to alternative means for initiating and responding to change. 6% admit they would consider using psychics, horoscopes or fortune tellers to make a business decision and 17% of those small business owners under 30 would consider tossing a coin to make a business decision.

A minority of business owners (9%) are prevented from making changes as they believe they won’t be welcomed by others in the company. The spotlight is on how small business owners generate ideas and if they truly are open to change and suggestions from others.