Problem-solving is a critical skill for anyone who wants to run a business. No matter what your current skill level is, you can learn to be better at it. These eight tips will help you improve your business problem-solving skills.
1. Use Technology
While it can be useful to have a basic understanding of how to solve complex problems, you don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. Utilize the tools you have to assist with the process. Whether it’s an advanced tool, such as a graph neural network or a simple software program, such as a budgeting tool, technology can help you simplify the process of solving complex problems.
2. Define the Problem Clearly
Jumping straight to trying to solve the problem, without first defining the problem clearly is a mistake many people make. Not only does this potentially waste time if you end up solving the wrong problem, but it can make the actual problem worse or create a new problem. Take the time to make sure you fully understand the problem before you try to solve it.
3. Challenge Your Definition
Once you have your problem defined, challenge your definition. For example, if you have defined your problem as “not enough sales.” Look at the problem from different angles. Is the problem that you aren’t selling enough or is it that there isn’t enough demand, there is too much competition, your marketing isn’t effective or something else.
4. Separate What You Can Solve From What You Can’t
When attempting to solve a problem it is important to focus on the aspects that you can change and learn to work around the ones that you can not. For example, if your issue is that it has become too expensive to ship a product because of rising fuel prices, you should focus on aspects you can change, such as investigating alternative shipping options, no longer shipping to certain locations or ramping up local sales and learn to work around aspects you can not, such as the global price of crude oil.