Every business problem seems unique, but the techniques for solving business problems don’t have to be reinvented each time you face a dilemma. Adopt a methodical approach to solving all problems so that you won’t find your business in constant crisis management. Running a business means solving problems, so tackle problems with a well thought-out plan to avoid making rash decisions.
Identify the Problem
You may realize that something is not working in your business, but you may not be able to put your finger on it. Take the time to identify exactly what difficulty repeats itself. Describe it in detail so that you get a clear picture of who or what disrupts the profitable flow of your business operations
Describe the Cause
Why does the problem occur? Identifying the problem doesn’t tell you the cause. For example, if an employee constantly disrupts meetings, you might dig into the cause and find out she feels her talents get overlooked. You can address that. Or if products continually ship late, you might discover that a piece of machinery constantly breaks down. Finding the cause will suggest solutions.
Don’t’ settle for your first instinct when problem-solving. Think of all the possibilities for solving a problem. For example, firing a problem employee could solve a morale problem, but moving that employee could make better use of his talents and boost morale once again. You might identify a cash-flow problem that recurs each month at the same time. Your first thought might be that you need to demand payment on all outstanding accounts receivable, but you could discover that renegotiating a bill due date with a vendor could easily resolve the difficulty.
Implement One Solution
Pick the one solution that seems most likely to solve the problem and seems least likely to cause further problems. Use this metric to measure all of the possible solutions and settle on one. Once you make your decision, commit fully to it and do not second-guess yourself.
Monitor Your Solution
Measure the effects of the solution you choose. Watch to see if it solves the previous difficulty, and make sure it does not present new difficulties. If your monitoring reveals that your choice of solutions was incorrect, you can switch immediately to a new solution.