Solving a business problem
Every problem has a solution but very rarely entrepreneurs can find a quick, easy and long-lasting solution. Most problems are complex and need to be considered from various viewpoints and perspectives in order to find the suitable remedy. However, by following a systematic approach to problem solving, entrepreneurs can build a deeper understanding of specific business problems and find solutions that provide the biggest reward with the lowest risk.
The 3 steps process in solving business problems: 1. Identify the problem. 2. What are the options? 3. Choose the most feasible remedy. However, that being said, the fundamental importance in approaching a problem is to correctly define the real underlying problem and not about pushing solution initiatives.
Step 1: Identify / defining the real problem
At times, you may be too tightly wound up in your business to notice a problem, especially at the early stages. Even when you start to think something’s wrong, you still might not know what the real problem is. Some problems are actually symptoms of other more complex problems. Don’t get too excited to review solutions. Identifying the problem requires lots of questioning and thoughts in defining the real problem. Consider this example of a restaurant owner.
Entrepreneur: I am short of operation staff.
Advisor: haven’t you hired 2 assistants to assist in the kitchen already?
Entrepreneur: They left after a few months.
It’s important to look into the cause of the problem rather than the effects. By asking why until there is no answer, we will be able to narrow down to the real actual problem.
Advisor: What is the reason for leaving?
Entrepreneur: I don’t know. Perhaps salary, long working hours, laziness.
Advisor: ok, now we need to get to the real underlying problem…
Step 2: Consider Your Options
Unfortunately, even when problems are correctly identified, they are rarely addressed nor are they implemented. Once you know what the problem really is, you must take action to solve it. Here are some potential solutions to consider:
Spend some time looking at the problem from an open and objective mind, you will be able to get a clearer picture of the factors that need to be addressed in the solution.
With several potential solutions identified, you can move on to Step 3: Choose the Best Solution.
Step 3: Choose the Best Solution Evaluate the alternatives.
Evaluate your options using a grid. For each potential solution, determine where on the grid it fits, according to how easy it would be to implement and what level of impact the solution would likely have on your business goals. Thus, with this analysis, you can narrow down your alternatives and select one or two tentative solutions and avoid any potential negative effects of your final decision, at less to no cost.
For each of your alternatives, you should ask yourself the following questions: • What RISKS do you see in the solution? Or, in other words, what could go wrong? • How would you MITIGATE the risk? • Who would be responsible for mitigating the risk?