Are you experiencing problems in your business? Are you on the verge of business failure? How do you handle business challenges? How do you solve critical business problems? What are the exact steps to effectively solve problems in business? How do successful entrepreneurs and drop out billionaires such as Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Aliko Dangote and Steve Jobs solve business problems? Well, you are going to find out below.
In this article, I am going to highlight ten steps to effective problem solving in business but before I do that; I want to acknowledge the impact of my mentors “Richard Branson” and “Robert Kiyosaki” with respect to the subject above. They provided the needed inspiration for writing this article.
Now how do you solve problems in business effectively?
Without wasting much of your time, below are ten steps to effective problem solving in business. These steps to effective problem solving in business can be applied to all sort of problems ranging from employee problems, competition, financial problems, marketing challenges or management problems.
Ten Steps to Effective Problem Solving in Business
1. Acknowledge there’s a problem
In the article “Four Essential Lessons from Companies Going out of Business”, I stated that one of the reasons why businesses fail is because the management turned blind eye to a problem or broken system. The first step to solving a problem in business is to acknowledge that a problem exists and needs solution. If there’s a problem but you want to believe that there’s none; then you don’t need to go in search of a solution.
2. Identify the cause
After acknowledging that there’s a problem and a solution needs to be found; the next step to take is to identify the cause of the problem. Philosophers believe that nothing just happens; and Isaac Newton said that to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Business problems don’t just happen; they are prompted by something. Identifying a problem is essential to the process of effective problem solving in business and to identify the root cause of a problem; you must be unbiased. Is the business problem you are facing a consequence of a decision you took? Is the cause of your business problem internal or external? You must find out and be prepared to take drastic measure if need be.
“Extreme problems often require extreme solutions.” – The Mafia Manager
3. Believe a solution exist
When you identify the root cause of your business problem; you will at that point know if your business problem has a solution or not. To me, I believe every problem in life and business has a solution. To effectively solve an intricate business problem; you must have the belief that the problem can be solved. Once you have this belief; be sure that your business problem will soon be a thing of the past.
“All problems resolves themselves; given time.” – The Mafia Manager
4. Throw open the problem to your team
If your business problem is a minor one; then you can take instant action to correct it before it escalates. But if it’s a critical problem; then you have to throw it open to your business management team and ask them to sleep over it. In an article I wrote recently, I highlighted S10 strategic advantages of having a management team and one of such reasons is to help you handle business challenges.
5. Think it through on your own
“When stumped for a solution to a particularly difficult problem, look to the past for a solution.” – The Mafia Manager
Another step to solving intricate problems in business is to make use of your thinking creativity. Look for a quiet place where you can reflect over the problem on ground. Sometimes, solutions to critical problems usually come to us in moments of quiet reflection. So learn to think in solitude.
“The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.” – Thomas Edison
6. Draw up a list of possible solutions
The sixth step to effectively solving your business problems is to draw up a list of possible solution to your problems. You must have done some thinking in solitude and came up with some possible solutions but don’t put your ideas into action yet; just let it remain on paper.
7. Meet with your business team and brainstorm
After drawing up your own list of possible solutions; meet with you business and brainstorm on the problem at hand. This is important in keeping the team spirit and business mission alive. You must learn to think individually as well as part of a team.
“Teams should be able to act with the same unity of purpose and focus as a well motivated individual.” – Bill Gates
8. Take note of the solution they offer
During the brainstorming session with your business team; take note of the solutions they offer and pair it side by side with yours. This will help you make sure that only the best solution is implemented.
9. Take a stand
After hearing and weighing every possible solution to your business problem; you must take a stand and arrive at a decision quickly because when problems are left unattended to; they escalate. You are an entrepreneur; the chief decision maker of your business, so weigh all possible options and take a stand.
“Every remedy of a bad situation has its bad side effects. Choose the remedy with the least.” – The Mafia Manager
“Before making an important decision, get as much as you can of the best information available and review it carefully, analyze it and draw up worst case scenarios. Add up the plus or minus factors, discuss it with your team and do what your guts tell you to do.” – The Mafia Manager
10. Live with the consequences
You have taken a decision and implemented a corrective measure to combat the business problem on hand. The question now is this: are you prepared to live with the consequences of your decision? After implementing a solution to address a problem; two things are bound to happen. It’s either the problem gets resolved or it escalates. Either ways, you have to accept whatever comes and move on. Accepting responsibility for the consequences of action taken or decision made is the reason most people shy away from taking leadership role in any organization. But you don’t have to be afraid; being unafraid to live with the consequences of your decision is a mark of good leadership.