4 Steps for Turning Business Problems into Solutions

Anderson Ozakpo
4 Steps to Turning Business Problems to Solutions, Operational Plan, Management strategy, Set milestones, Performance measurement, Developing Operation Plan for Small Businesses

MBAs and PhDs  are great and would mostly likely impact your business but definitely not compared to experience—which actually builds expertise. You can only be an expert when you’re able to face problems head on and squeeze solutions out of them.

A few months ago, I was very ill and went to see the doctor to, at least, get some needles and medications—two things I’d rather avoid. However, the doctor’s diagnosis meant I had to be placed on admission immediately. Things were actually more serious than I thought; all I recall is the incessant beep at my bedside, and nurses coming in and out with vials of antibiotics and drips. And I thought to myself, “But it was only diarrhea”.

Ever wondered how physicians are able to determine what’s wrong with you even before tests are run? Well, often times, it’s simply experience and some guess work. In this article, we found you a few steps (reminiscent of a physician’s work process) to help you fix your business.

1. Break it Down.

It is more effective to get someone to write or list out the problems while you talk about them. Pour out your frustrations, express yourself freely and let loose of how you feel. Trust me, you’ll feel much better when you’re done. The good thing is, you now have a list of all your problems.

This is what a doctor would do during consultation; they’d ask you lots of questions to make a list of your health issues.

2. Pick the Right One.

When I visited the hospital, I thought all that was wrong was diarrhea. But after consultations, the physician could almost guess it was malaria and food poisoning. Obviously, diarrhea was just a symptom not ‘the cause’. You see, like with health matters, some businesses fix the wrong problems. For instance, a firm’s Sales team may be doing badly because of the mistakes of the Marketing team.

If the firm fixes the failures of its Marketing team, then its Sale team will perform better. This implies that you might just be hitting shadows while the real problem stares right at you.

You could use the 5 Why Model: I found this example in mindtools:

Problem: A client was refusing to pay for leaflets we printed.
Why: Delivery was late so the leaflets couldn’t be used.
Why: The job took longer than we expected.
Why: We ran out of printer ink.
Why: The ink was all used on large, last minute order.
Why: We didn’t have enough ink for such large scale work and couldn’t get a supplier to deliver on time.

Solution: Find a Supplier who can provide supplies in real time and at short notice.

3. Get the Right team.

One of the best ways to see things more clearly is by viewing them through the eyes of others. You can’t fix all the problems yourself—so consult your team, friends, mentors and partners. Ask if they’ve been in similar situations and seek guidance because business is all about the relationships you build.

You could also seek expert advice which of course, may cost you a fortune.

4. Make the Solution Fool-Proof.

Are you spending more money trying to fix the problem than the problem actually costs? Let’s say your business loses 20% of its profit to poor financial management. If you decide to hire a financial management agency whose agency fee is about 30% of your profit, then that’s a classic case of being penny wise but pound foolish.

Make sure your solution is air-tight—the benefit must be durable and outweigh the cost of problem.

The Bottom Line

Businesses rise and fall, so to thrive amid inevitable challenges, business owners would have to stop blaming hard times or government policies. Try out the tips mentioned above and squeeze out solutions from your business problems.

Everything gets down to one question—your business or the problems, which are you willing to get rid of?

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