10 Ways to Know Business Problems and Solve It Quickly

When you start a small business, you are bound to get into business problems. Whether it’s a big or small problem that will have an impact on business continuity

There will be many unexpected things that you will experience when building a business. Having the right way and skills to solve business problems will certainly prepare you to act quickly and strategically to overcome business risks.

Never let your guard down, whether you’re dealing with a smaller day-to-day problem, or you’re trying to solve a business problem that could affect your ability to stay afloat.

Here are 10 of these troubleshooting ways and techniques that have proven to be helpful to many businesses


1 1. Decide and Locate the Problem
2 2. Use SWOT to identify solutions and opportunities
3 3. Try a design thinking approach
4 4. Do market research and customer outreach
5 5. Seek input from your team and mentor
6 6. Do Lean Planning so you can be more agile
7 7. Different financial scenario models
8 8. Watch your cash flow
9 9. Use a decision-making framework
10 10. Identify key metrics — how do you know your problem is solved

1. Decide and Locate the Problem

When you have a lot going on in your business and you notice sales are dropping, your first inclination may be to rush into devising a tactical plan to increase sales.

This is not a bad thing, and it is natural for every business owner. But what if the drop in sales is just a symptom of the real problem? When you define the problem, sometimes it’s the little details that make a big impact, right?

If you have a big problem on your hands, look at it from a few different angles:

  • Team: Is there a problem affecting your team? Do they have the tools and resources they need to succeed?
  • Competition: Do competitors’ promotions affect your sales? Is this a short-term or long-term issue?
  • Business model: Is your business model sustainable? Is it realistic for how fast you want to grow?
  • Economy: How do world events and the country’s economy affect your customers and sales?
  • Goal alignment: Is everyone on your team working toward the same goal? Have you clearly and frequently communicated your short and long-term business goals?

There are many ways to analyze a problem when you have a serious business problem. The key is to make sure you get the full picture of what’s going on so you don’t waste money and resources on a help solution that may be a temporary fix, but that won’t have a noticeable effect on the deeper issues at hand.

If you’re worried you might have blind spots, great! Every leader has it. Tools like SWOT analysis can help you be more thorough when you search and where you are and what you need to do next.

2. Use SWOT to identify solutions and opportunities

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats or strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis usually starts with a matrix. Read more about how to do a SWOT analysis here.

All good business solves the whole problem for the customer. What if your particular business problem is actually an opportunity, or even a strength when viewed from a different angle?

SWOT is a great tool for strategic planning and brings multiple perspectives to the table when you are looking for investment resources to solve problems. When you’re done doing your SWOT analysis, check out this guide to turning your results into actionable strategies.

3. Try a design thinking approach

You might also consider a design thinking approach to problem-solving. It is often used by organizations looking to solve large, community-based problems. One of its strengths is that it requires the involvement of many people in the problem-solving process.

Rod Ebrahimi reports for Fast Company that one of the things he learned from Graham about running a business is that successful businesses solve real problems. This approach — applies your company’s skills and expertise to a problem in the marketplace, and it is the basis for design thinking.

It’s not about finding the most complex problems to solve, but about finding shared needs within the organization and in the real world to come up with solutions that match those needs. When you solve a business problem, it means that you are looking for a solution that addresses the underlying problem and of course you can see the big picture.

4. Do market research and customer outreach

Market research and customer outreach are things small business owners and start-ups can do. When you encounter a roadblock in your business, think back to the last time you did solid market research, or did an in-depth analysis to understand the competitive landscape.

Market research and the insights you get from customer outreach is critical data. Many companies struggle with what to do with conflicting data points. But it’s worth the fight and gathering information that can help you better understand your target market.

And of course your customers can be one of the best sources of criticism to find out where the business went wrong. It’s actually a reward if your business wants to grow sustainably and listen to customers.

Survey your customers and build a competitive matrix. The worst thing you can do when faced with a challenge is isolate yourself from your customers and ignore your competitors.

5. Seek input from your team and mentors

The freedom to express suggestions, opinions, and ideas will allow people in an organization to speak up. Their feedback will help you move faster and more efficiently. If you have a team, bring them into the discussion. You recruit them to become experts in their field; use their expertise to navigate and dig deeper into the underlying causes of problems and potential solutions.

Don’t do a SWOT analysis or design your own thinking. If you run your own business, at least bring a trusted mentor.

Quoting Stephen Covey, author of 7 habits of highly effective people , who says that “Strength lies in differences, not similarities,” Forbes also discusses the importance of diversity when it comes to solving problems in business. The more diverse the team, the more capable they are of coming up with innovative solutions to problems faced by the organization.

In fact, it has been found that groups that show greater diversity are better at solving problems than groups that are typically made up of highly skilled problem solvers. So whoever you bring in to help you solve the problem, it will create a lot of solution options that you can choose from for better business problem-solving.

6. Do Lean Planning so you can be more agile

You do a SWOT analysis and exercise your design thinking. You generate a powerful, data-driven set of ideas. But implementing it requires you to adjust your budget, or strategic plan, or even your understanding of the target market.

Are you willing to change direction? Can you change your mind? When you grow your business, you are essentially a detective, learning more and more about your customers, your team, and what it takes for your business to thrive. Don’t be afraid to be agile.

Doing Lean Business Planning — the process of regularly revising your business strategy — is much more efficient than writing an epic business plan once a year. You don’t want to change direction every week, and you don’t want to fall victim to pseudo-object thinking. But you can strike a balance that allows for reducing business risk, while keeping your team in the right direction.

Along the way, you will make strategic decisions that may not go as expected. The best thing to do is to test your ideas and repeat them over and over so you don’t waste money and resources on things that don’t work. That is Lean Planning

7. Different financial scenario models

When you’re trying to solve a serious business problem, one of the best things you can do is create several different financial forecasts so you can model different scenarios. This will give you a better insight into the financial impact of moving in a different direction.

The real benefit here is looking at different tactical approaches to the same problem. Perhaps instead of increasing current sales, it would be better in the long run if you adopt a strategy to reduce churn and retain the best customers. You won’t know unless you come up with a few different scenarios. You can do this using a simple spreadsheet.

8. Watch your cash flow

When you are working to solve a challenging business problem, pay special attention to your cash flow and cash flow forecasts. Understanding when your company is at risk of running out of cash in the bank can help you be proactive.

It’s much easier to get a line of credit while your finances are still looking good and sound, than when you’re one payment period from crashing.

You’ll benefit from maintaining a bit of breathing room for the business while you figure out what to do next.

9. Use a decision-making framework

When you’ve gathered all the information you need and come up with some ideas and done some financial modeling, you may still feel uncertain.

That’s natural — you’re not a fortune-teller. You try to make the best decision with the information you have.

You can read about frameworks for decision-making in this article

Use this kind of framework to put everything you’ve learned on the table. If you are working with a larger team, discuss it with your team members so they feel ownership of the outcome.

10. Identify key metrics — how do you know your problem is solved

How do you know your problem is solved? And it’s not just the symptoms — how will you know when you’ve addressed the underlying problem? Before you dive into enforcing a solution, make sure you know what success looks like.

Define some key performance indicators. Take baseline measurements, and set goals and time frames. Basically translate your solution into a plan, complete with milestones and goals. Without this, you’re just making a declaration. Most importantly make sure the goals and milestones to make a real plan.

The key to effective problem-solving in business is the ability to adapt. You can spend a lot of resources staying on the wrong track for too long. So make a plan to reduce the risk now. Think about what to do if you were faced with a problem big enough to drown your business. Be as proactive as you can.

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