10 Problem Solving Strategies for Business Owners
Nobody likes being faced with problems. But sometimes, running a business can seem to be nothing but a series of challenges. So, business owners must develop problem-solving strategies to help them resolve issues fast.
Some say that problems are an opportunity to learn and grow. However, holding onto that positive philosophy can be hard to do when faced with a mounting heap of challenges. If you try to tackle all the issues you meet simultaneously, you will invariably make some bad decisions.
So, the first strategy to adopt is to tackle your problems one at a time. Here are ten more strategies to help you become a highly effective business problem-solver.
Define the True Problem
Merely knowing that one of your most important customers is dissatisfied is not enough. You will also need to understand why they are unhappy, what caused their dissatisfaction, and how the immediate problem will be resolved. And you will need to decide what steps will need to be taken to ensure the same situation never arises again. It would be best, then, to clearly define what a problem is before you attempt to resolve the issue. Gather all the facts, analyze the figures if appropriate, and try to look at the problem you face from a detached, objective perspective.
Once you have gathered all the relevant information about a problem, you will need to get to the crux of the issue at hand. The data you collect will help you understand the magnitude of the challenge and help you find a solution. However, too much data can be overwhelming. So, distill the problem you face into a summary and bullet-point what action is needed to rectify the issue.
Decide if You Are looking at the Problem or a Symptom
Fixing a symptom will only provide a short-term fix if there is a more significant underlying issue. So, consider if the challenge you face is merely the result of a far deeper problem. Suppose the unhappy customer mentioned above was dissatisfied with one of your products, for example. If that were the case, a refund and an apology might placate the disgruntled customer. But, in due course, you will likely face further complaints from other customers about the same product if the root cause of the complaint is not fixed.
Consider all The Ramifications
When faced with a problem, try to avoid making hasty decisions that could make the situation worse or lead to other issues. Faced with a shortage of cash, you might make the knee-jerk decision to withhold all payments to vendors, for example. But, while paying suppliers late will ease the immediate cash flow issue, it will probably cause further problems later. It is best to take your time resolving business problems whenever you can. Even the most pressing business challenges don’t usually need an instant solution.