New research reveals power of instincts in business

5 min read
John Coomer

Australians have long been known for our ‘have a go’ attitude. That attitude is reflected in the number of new business registrations increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic has hit. It’s also reflected in the findings of the latest GoDaddy survey of more than 1,000 Australian entrepreneurs.

GoDaddy’s ‘Go for it’ research sought to understand the role instincts play in launching and running a business.

The study found that the majority of respondents rely on their instincts daily and that this has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on their business success.

The research, conducted by Antenna, was carried out amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,015 Australian entrepreneurs, small business owners and ‘side hustlers’ in December 2021. The sample was weighted by age and gender to the 2016 ABS census to ensure representation.

Related: The power of backing yourself with Olympian Belle Brockhoff

Key survey findings

The new survey offers some encouraging signs, given the stresses of the last few years.


According to GoDaddy’s research, 85% of surveyed entrepreneurs and business owners said that their instincts were either ‘important or very important’ in their decision to start their business.

overhead view of four people joining hands

Frequency of instinctive decision-making when running a business

More than two-thirds (68%) trust their instincts to make business decisions ‘most days’, while 84% do so at least once a week.

Effectiveness of instinctive business decisions

More than three quarters (78%) believe that trusting their instincts when making decisions has had a positive effect on their businesses. Only one percent believe that relying on their instincts has had a negative impact.

The most common instinctive business decisions

The survey results indicate that the top four types of instinctive business decisions made by the surveyed Australian entrepreneurs are:

  • Price changes (30% of respondents)
  • Business strategy (also 30%)
  • Investments (28%)
  • Hiring (24%)

Related: Trusting instincts and chasing gold with Olympian Jarryd Hughes

The role of instincts during the pandemic

Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of survey participants (53%) indicated that they have relied on their business instincts even more since COVID-19 restrictions have been in place. Only 3% have used their decision-making instincts less for their businesses over the past two years.

With restrictions in various parts of Australia being updated regularly since COVID-19 first hit our shores in early 2020, it’s little wonder that entrepreneurs have had to make more decisions on their feet.

They have also had to do more ‘thinking outside the box’ to keep operating effectively.

The cliché that ‘we’re living in unprecedented times’ has perhaps never been more apt. There’s no playbook for what to do.

Older entrepreneurs more likely to make instinctive decisions

GoDaddy’s survey showed that older entrepreneurs (aged 45 to 64) are more likely than younger entrepreneurs (aged 18 to 24) to make instinctive business decisions daily.

75% of survey respondents aged between 45 and 64 make daily instinctive decisions, compared to just 54% of 18 to 24-year-old entrepreneurs.

Related: The beginner’s guide to website analytics

How budding entrepreneurs can develop strong business instincts

If you’re wondering how you can develop your business instincts, here are some tips.

1. Identify your bottom line

What is it you’re really after with this business? Sure, you want to succeed, but be more specific. Are you hoping to:

  • Have complete control over how you spend your time?
  • Improve others’ lives?
  • Make headlines with your innovative thinking?

Once you identify the thing you’re really after, the thought of accomplishing this will make it easier to take the first (second, third) leap.

2. Be your own biggest cheerleader

It’s easy to be self-critical, but this won’t serve you in business.

Take it from GoDaddy Winter Olympian Ambassador Belle Brockhoff: "A little exercise I do before each competition is I look at myself in the mirror and I say that I’m going to win this race. And no one’s going to do better than me because I’m the best athlete.

“And it may come across as cocky or arrogant, but that’s my way of reinforcing and producing that confidence.”

3. Use both sides of your brain

Dr. Nate Zinsser has coached world-class athletes, including numerous Olympic medalists, a Super Bowl MVP, professional ballerinas and others, teaching them to overcome pressure and succeed on the biggest stages.

Dr. Zinsser suggests using both logic and fantastic thinking to succeed. Rely on your analytical brain to make the daily decisions, but let yourself dream when you set long-range goals. Be audacious in your goals!

5. Use trusted people as a sounding board before you act

You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to business decision-making. Ask people you trust (and whose opinion you value) to confirm whether or not an instinctive decision that you want to make is the right one.

6. Sleep on your decision (then “just get after it”)

If a decision doesn’t have to be made straight away, sleep on it. A good business decision will still be a good business decision tomorrow.

Or do what GoDaddy Winter Olympian Ambassador Jarryd Hughes does to center himself before competing.

 “I meditate during the day, and I found that’s been a massive help.”

“You’ll see in some events, I’ll close my eyes, count my breaths, and then I just open up and go for it. I don’t give it a second thought and just get after it.”

Jarryd Hughes heights
Aussie Olympian Jarryd Hughes airborne.

Key takeaways

The key takeaway from GoDaddy’s survey is that Australian entrepreneurs not only rely on their instincts daily, but their businesses benefit from this this ‘have a go’ attitude.

If you’re an entrepreneur, don’t let fear or indecision stop you. Follow the advice of Aussie small business owners and Winter Olympians alike and Go For It!

Editor’s note: If you have a small business but no business website, now is definitely the time to get one. Build it yourself — truly no tech skills needed! — or let the pros at GoDaddy build one for you.

Products Used