Great question and there are multiple answers, pivots on your choice of the word 'right'.
(background to me, relevant to this response: In my 30+ successful years coaching leaders individually and in groups, one common fail-safe trigger (easily addressed) must be resolved before I accept an assignment. And I have turned down many lucrative, dead-end offers. I empower leaders to achieve improved, measurable results, guaranteed in writing.)
The fail-safe trigger to resolve? Those with authority to make decisions, don't have the proper information. And those with the proper information, don't have decision-making authority. I
I recall, in a workshop with Gen Colin Powell years ago where he showed us how the highest US senior decision makers in his day were making decisions with under 40% of available information. He even showed us the formula the US Gov't was using to decide matters affecting the nation. Yikes!!
To do: As a first step in any results-oriented team-based project, I apply a values-driven system (part of my Get UNstuck NOW! system) for each and every team member involved, top to bottom, including the C-levels and the receptionist(s). It ensures buy-in to seek and act on the best information available at the time of a decision ... including making that information available, regardless of who has or created it - no space for keeping it close to your chest.
Let me know how I can be of further service on this key leadership topic.
The manager has the final say because the buck stops with them. However, if you are referring to a board or committee of people then decisions are based on majority of votes.
Is your question generic or personal?
The way the question is worded leads me to believe that there is bad dynamic at the company.
The right decision maker should be the manager assigned to that area of responsibility.
If the company owner has trusted people chosen outside his management team, he is setting up people to fail. The owner's trusted people and managers should be same group.
Is it possible that you have not fully qualified this opportunity? After your qualification meeting you should have had a very good idea of who the decision maker(s) is/are and who has the decision maker's ear. In addition, your blockers should be identified and what their agenda could be, this can be hard since these folks see you as a threat but push as hard as you can because these are the deal killers. One for free, never ask a yer or no question. Best of luck in your endeavor.
Why are they considering your product? Price, quality, features or an internal champion? Ask open ended questions. For example: If price, contract terms, etc are all the same which vendor are you and the decision maker leaning towards? This one question could answer your question and let you know before you walk in to the room what your chances of success are. Walking into a meeting with a 60-70% chance of winning the business is great for your pre. If you are unsure of the decision maker, stop is possible and go back and qualify. I wish you all the success.
Forget the owner, been there and done that with very poor results. The question is..."how does the owner know if the person can be relied on to do the job?". What experience does the owner have to judge the qualifications and being the owner does not mean he/she has the relevant experience or skills.
The right decision maker is the person who understands the issues and has the experience and independence to bring a successful resolution.
Simply said; first define the goals and expected outcomes, develop a plan and see who is best suited to achieve the desired outcomes.
There are two paradigms to consider when answering this question. The first of course should be, who has the actual authority? The actual authority typically belongs to a Manager and the decision making normally lies there.
Second who has the implied authority? In many cases the individual with the actual authority is a manager, however, the owner may choose to use a subject matter expert and give implied authority to that individual.
Solution... First consider where did the owner want the authority to go and why. Then consider how can you get both to work together to build a cohesive team in making the necessary decisions. I would not advocate leaving the manager out of the loop per se' as that could ruffle some feathers. Its important these two work together and on some common ground.
the founder should make all decisions then the partners
what i figure out from the above statement is that you are working like a flat organizations(where decisions are taken by the team members in the company). make sure to express the current owner that the decision made by the manager is based upon the inputs from every member in the team. The manager is afraid(may be correct/may be wrong) to say anything without your involvement in decisions is that there is lack of leadership.
Explanation is that the decisions are made by the involvement of team members to the manager and the manager implements by conveying the decision to the owner.
I suggest that you have a three-way meeting by web or in-person with both Owner and manager to thoroughly understand who the key decision-maker is and what criteria qualifies the choice. making them feel understood first is essential to their full acceptance and trust in your decisions and recommendations.