How to Start A Problem-Solving Business
Most successful businesses have something in common: they solve problems.
Creating a startup, or managing any business, is all about problem solving and it is a learnable trait. Entrepreneurs who are great problem solvers within any business are the best prepared to solve their customers’ needs effectively as well. In fact, every business is about solutions to customer problems.
Problems are an everyday part of every business and personal environment.
Thus, it behooves work on all entrepreneurs to master the discipline of problem solving.
Here are some guidelines on how to start a problem-solving business
1. Take the time to define the problem clearly
Many executives like to jump into solution mode immediately, even before they understand the issue.
In some cases, a small problem can become a big one with inappropriate actions. In all cases, real clarity will expedite the path ahead.
2. Pursue alternate paths on “facts of life” and opportunities
Remember, there are some things that you can do nothing about. They’re not problems; they are merely facts of life. Often, what appears to be a problem is actually an opportunity in disguise.
3. Challenge the definition from all angles
Beware of any problem for which there is only one definition. The more ways you can define a problem, the more likely it is that you will find the best solution. For example, “sales are too low” may mean strong competitors, ineffective advertising, or a poor sales process.
4. Iteratively question the cause of the problem
This is all about finding the root cause, rather than treating a symptom. If you don’t get to the root, the problem will likely recur, perhaps with different symptoms. Don’t waste time re-solving the same problem.
5. Identify multiple possible solutions
The more possible solutions you develop, the more likely you will come up with the right one. The quality of the solution seems to be in direct proportion to the quantity of solutions considered in problem solving.
6. Prioritize potential solutions
An acceptable solution, doable now, is usually superior to an excellent solution with higher complexity, longer timeframe, and higher cost. There is a rule that says that every large problem was once a small problem that could have been solved easily at that time.
7. Make a decision
Select a solution, any solution, and then decide on a course of action. The longer you put off deciding on what to do, the higher the cost, and the larger the impact. Your objective should be to deal with 80% of all problems immediately. At the very least, set a specific deadline for making a decision and stick to it.
8. Assign responsibility
Who exactly is going to carry out the solution or the different elements of the solution? Otherwise nothing will happen, and you have no recourse but to implement all solutions yourself.
9. Set a measure for the solution
Otherwise you will have no way of knowing when and whether the problem was solved. Problem solutions in a complex system often have unintended side effects which can be worse than the original problem.
People who are good at problem solving are some of the most valuable and respected people in the business world. In fact, success is often defined as the ability to solve problems.