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Help with your decisions

General Decision Advisor Franchise
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(+4, -3)
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Problem: People procrastinate over questions like: Car and home buying/selling decisions, which job offer to take, what clothes to buy, where and what to invest in, where to live, etc. Decision advisors do exist -- Clergy, fortune tellers, friends, family, psychologists, lawyers, etc. -- but they sometimes have religious, profit/sales, personal, or other biased motivations that influence their decision processes. People often do not know where to find advisors who can help in making decisions in an unbiased manner. Some people are better/more experienced at making decisions than others.


I suggest a face to face version of a media consumer decision advisor such as clarkhoward.com. Clark Howard has no posted business phone or e-mail address. His WSB radio employer will not allow them as so many people stop him in the street, and try to otherwise get in touch with him for personal advice.

Independent, fee based, one stop shop “General Practitioner Decision Advisor” offices could be franchised. They would provide the same sort of advice that Clark Howard provides. Clark has already done much of the market research that would be required to determine the type of questions that people ask and what kind of answers they seek -- just listen to his syndicated radio show or see his web site. Clark himself could start such a franchise as he is an MBA with business experience. I suspect that, following the 80/20 rule defined by Pareto, at least 80% of the decisions that the average human has to make have also been made by other humans millions of times in the past. It seems that the successful and unsuccessful analysis/decision making patterns could be harvested from a large group of persons, for each subject area. The successful decision making processes could be analyzed, averaged and converted into software “flow charts” distributed to the franchises and to be utilized by the clients. The advisor would walk the client through and assist in interpreting the results.

I would guess that 20% of the problems would be beyond the scope of the decision advisor and would have to be referred to doctors, psychologists, marriage counselors, lawyers and other specialists, just as a General Practitioner MD forwards a patient to a medical specialist. The decision advisor would charge a referral fee for his or her services in guiding the client to unbiased specialists.

Other examples of fee based independent advisors are independent insurance agents and independent financial advisors. Other free sources of (hopefully) unbiased decision making assistance include “Consumer Guide,” http://tinyurl.com/cyuex, and corporate hotlines assisting employees in deciding savings and insurance benefit choices.

This concept sounds overwhelming initially. An adventurous entrepreneur or business school research project would be required to “trail blaze” this concept, at least in a one on one client environment. I suspect that an entrepreneur would have to offer the service for free or at a very low "introductory" cost initially to discern the type of questions regularly asked by –fee- paying clients, and to define the best decision making processes for those questions. 5,200,00 decision making “flow charts” appear in a Google search done today, but many persons do not know where to locate them, or would prefer the guidance, confidence and assurance of a professional in selecting and/or creating the proper flow charts.

A psychology background might be of benefit for the decision advisor as some interpretation of the individual needs and characteristics of each personality will be required. The decision advisor could be certified and monitored by an organization modeled on those that certify independent financial advisors and similar professionals, in order to keep bias and "kickbacks" to a minimum.

Sunstone, Nov 16 2005

Askanything.com http://www.askanyth...Z28PC8XR77VZ26LJ377
[bungston, Nov 16 2005]

Decision support software for everyday people http://www.decisionoven.com/
If you ever felt lost while pondering different options desperately wanting to choose the best one, this software could be just what you need. By user interface designed for ordinary humans, let our software do the underlying math and present you with best alternative that suits your needs. [Sunstone, Dec 08 2008, last modified Jul 24 2010]

Calculators for life's major decisions http://www.freemone...life-decisions.html
Calculators like this could be used in the advisory franchise [Sunstone, Sep 09 2009]


       How about this decision: 'Should I use an advisor?'   

       On another point, I use some simple philosophies like:
If A and B are so close that it is difficult to make a decision, then quickly choose one of them: in doesn't make much difference.

       Don't leave important decisions to someone else.   

       Just because many people are deciding to do X, it doesn't mean it's the best thing for me. Most advisors would play safe.
Ling, Nov 16 2005

       I believe this is baked, as Askanything.com. This site has a number of freelance advisors. It is more generalin that some experts are not advisors, but experts in a field. I linked an answer from an investment advisor.   

       Persons posing a question propose a value for the answer. I saw one question in which the expert queried stated that it would cost more because of the research involved. The asker raised the bid, and the expert proceeded with the answer.   

       The coolest thing about askanything is that the whole transaction above is public. I read question, haggling and answer and paid not a cent.   

       [Sunstone],yours is a fine idea. Check out the site and see if it is what you had in mind.
bungston, Nov 16 2005

       Didn't someone else just post a "help people (=me) make decisions" thing?
DrCurry, Nov 16 2005

       Once again I say, "The Diceman."   

       Why put your faith in man, when the wisdom of the cosmos is at your command?   

       It's actually less of a silly idea than you might at first imagine. As [Ling] points out, all those important decisions are only difficult if they are choosing between two equally attractive outcomes, or more trickily, if one has to weigh up the cost/risk/benefits of two or more alternatives.   

       The truth is, you either know what you are going to do, or you don't. If you don't, you either take steps to research the issues properly yourself to find out more information, or you don't. If you don't do any of those things, what is the difference between seeing an advisor, and blindly rolling a die?   

       Sure, the recipient of the service wont have quite so many flow-charts, graphs and other presentation materials to show to his wife as he packs his bags to leave home for his mistress - but neither will he have had to spend more than a couple of bucks on a nice red six sided die. Failing that, he could just flip a coin.   

       Either way, he's still going to have to accept that the decision was not actually made by him, but by a team of advisors in an office somewhere, or by the result of the random trajectory of a plastic cube.
zen_tom, Nov 16 2005

       Flow chart hazy; ask again.
angel, Nov 16 2005

       I try to work on the basis that any action is better than inaction. This works okay most of the time, but backfires spectacularly when writing annos.
moomintroll, Nov 16 2005

       hmmm, how to vote? How to vote?   

       [ZT], When I was younger I used to use the coin flip method to aid in deciding between two alternatives. After assigning each choice it's respective side of the coin, I would flip the coin. Invariably I would hope for a particular side. I would then have my answer, and pocket the coin without looking.
MikeD, Dec 08 2008

       //Once again I say, "The Diceman." //   


       //[ZT], When I was younger I used to use the coin flip method to aid in deciding between two alternatives. After assigning each choice it's respective side of the coin, I would flip the coin. Invariably I would hope for a particular side. I would then have my answer, and pocket the coin without looking.//   

       This too.
imaginality, Dec 09 2008

       What is needed is definitely not an expert. If you really can't decide, then it's unlikely that anyone else will do any better - they may have a little more experience in some areas, but they won't have the same considerations and biases as you. Almost everyone actually knows what they really truly *want*, but then they agonize over cost, durability, yada yada.   

       What you need instead is a convincer who can bluff. For instance: "I can't decide whether to go with a Honda Appendix or a Toyoya Neurosis."   

       "Do you have any personal preference?"   

       "Well, the Appendix is environmentally the better option, but I prefer the looks of the Neurosis."   

       "Actually, the environmental figures for the Appendix are not as good as they look. A Nernst evaluation actually gives it a slightly larger tungsten fingerprint than the Neurosis, and it uses anusium in its catalytic converter, which is a scarce resource. So, you're better off all round going with the Neurosis. Trust me on this."   

       "Brilliant! Thank you!"
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 30 2009

       Consumer Reports?
phoenix, Aug 31 2009


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