If you’re running a business, then making decisions is something you have to do every day. Whether you’re hiring and firing, picking the right approach to use when you’re pitching to a client or simply choosing between different suppliers, your judgement is the one quality that is constantly exercised.

Many founders and CEO speak glowing of their intuition, instincts or gut feeling, and having the confidence that you’re able to divine the right thing to do by an innate quality of good judgement is probably an essential one to cultivate. You need to have faith in your decisions. If you just rely on a numinous sense of intuition, however, you’re going to find it lets you down sooner or later.

What you need to make good decisions is data: hard facts about your products, your market and how your consumers behave that will allow you to model that their response will be to the decisions you’re going to take. There are lots of ways to get the sort of data you need: if you’ve been in business for a long time you’ll have a history of figures showing how your company has behaved over the course of its lifetime, and how sales have responded to different factors that will give you an insight into what your consumers want and how to give it to them, which is of course the engine that drives all businesses at the deepest level.

If you’re moving into an area where you don’t have relevant data, or if you’re a new business you need a way to gather those insights now, from consumers who are out buying products every day. You need to know why they’re choosing one product over another, how brands appeal to one person but not another, and what the impact will be if you do something as simple as use more contractions in your brand’s social media ‘voice’.

Market research companies like Attest can get you the insights you need: they have pre-existing access to a large spread of consumers who are willing to respond to surveys. Dealing with experts means you don’t have to decide what the right approach is – you can spare your judgement there. Consult with a Market Research company and describe what you need, whether it’s a comparison of how consumers aged between 18-24 rate your brand compared with competitors or a broader spread of what the market at large wants from your products, and they will be able to recommend a programme of research that will get you fast and accurate results to base your strategy on.