Opening a business, creating a startup, or managing any business can often be all about solving problems. Some people are great at it, but there are those who are not and this doesn’t even depend on people’s IQ or academic credentials. Business owners who have great problem-solving skills are best prepared to answer their customers’ needs, too. Every business is about providing solutions to customers’ problems. However, day-to-day business problems can give anyone a headache. To help you with that, here are several steps that can help you solve business problems with ease.
- Take Time to Define the Problem
The first and obvious step is to define your problem. Many business owners and executives often like to jump into the solution mode immediately without having properly understood the problem. There are cases when the smallest of problems can become big, and that’s why it’s essential you first take your time to define and understand the problem you have. Problems can be of various natures – legal, executive, operational, etc. – and it is in your best interest to define them, see if you need to take legal action or not, and come up with solutions lately. If it does happen that the problem is legal in nature, you can always talk to your business lawyer and see what’s the next step.
- Alternate Paths
Some problems have obvious solutions. However, other problems cannot be solved and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. If that’s the case, then you don’t have a problem actually, it’s just a fact of life. Additionally, exploring alternate paths when approaching the problem could tell you that the problem is actually an opportunity. In such cases, you can turn that problem to work for you and get something positive out of it.
- Look at It from All the Angles
Before you start solving the problem, look at the situation from all angles. Also, try and define it, as the definition could tell you more about it. If the problem you have has only one definition, you should be careful. When you have more ways to define a certain problem, you are more likely to find the best possible solution. For example, if your problem is that ‘the sales are too low’ you can look at it from all angles and see what’s causing it – ineffective advertising, poor sales process, strong competition – and with all these definitions you can see actually come up with an effective solution.
- Carefully Question the Cause
As you are inspecting the problem, you can find out what’s causing it. Finding the root cause is essential here in order to know how to approach the solution. Don’t treat the symptom, follow all the symptoms and find the culprit. If you don’t actually find the root and fix it, the problem is highly likely to occur again and it may even have different symptoms then.
- Multiple Solutions Possible
Some problems have one solution, and that’s fine. However, many problems can actually have several solutions. Your job is to identify as many solutions as possible. The more solutions you can come up with, the more likely you will find the right one. So, when the problem occurs, sit down and brainstorm solutions and cover all the angles. Some solution ideas will be poor in quality, but surely you can come up with enough solutions possible to determine the best one that everyone can benefit from.
- Some Solutions Should Be Prioritized
Not all problems are equal, which means that not all of them will be a priority. When identifying solutions, you should be able to determine which one is a priority. If you come up with a doable and acceptable solution that you can do now, it is much better than those complex solutions that take too long to realize. The rule says that every big problem was once small that could’ve been solved easily then.
- Make a Decisions
Once everything is considered, it’s time for you to pick a solution and make the decision. Once you’ve picked your best solution possible, decide on the course of action. The longer you procrastinate and postpone making a decision the higher the cost and bigger the problem gets. The objective of solving any problems you have in a company is to deal with 80% of the problems immediately. And if you cannot do that immediately, it’s best you specify a deadline for making a decision and make sure to stick to it.
Once the decision has been made, make sure to follow and measure how the solution is solving the problem. This way, you can know how to react and which decision to make in case the problem comes back or you face similar ones.