6 Problem-Solving Tips For Small Business Owners
Owning a small business may seem like a dream for many people, including yourself. Besides offering greater autonomy, it allows you to explore your creative side and try innovative ideas. However, while running your business has its perks, it also comes with several hurdles along the way. And regardless of how well you prepare, predict, or plan for potential problems— they’re bound to arise sooner or later.
The kind of troubles you’re likely to face depends on the type of business you run and the industry you’re part of. And while these are all part of running a business, you must find practical solutions before they can run your company to the ground.
In business, problem-solving refers to excising or mitigating particular obstacles that prevent an organization from meeting its objectives. Whether these hurdles are present in operations, productions, marketing, or staffing— identifying them and consequently alleviating them is crucial. For this reason, we outline six tips to help solve your problems, especially as a small business owner.
1. Think outside the box
People who work for organizations or industries often have to solve day-to-day problems using conventional techniques. But owning a business gives you the liberty to look for solutions away from these traditional approaches. Since small businesses usually don’t have the same resources or capital as a well-established corporation, they must look for more economical and feasible answers. When you think outside the box, you can develop more effective fixes that better fit your company.
For example, renting storage units to keep your warehouse products may be costly and inconvenient. Instead, you could rent used shipping containers at much lower prices without compromising the available space. More importantly, the various shapes and sizes of these containers give you plenty of choices in picking one that fits your needs perfectly.
2. Know what the problem is
The head of research at General Motors, Charles Kettering, once famously said, “a problem well-stated is half solved.” But while most business owners would agree with this statement, very few, if any, actually implement it.
When you face a problem, the first thing your management team does is start brainstorming solutions. However, failing to define where trouble arose means you’re blindly working towards resolving it. This mode of action results in a loss of valuable resources and often fails to solve the issue. Therefore, you must refocus your attention on understanding and defining the problem. Ask as many questions as possible and gather all the relevant data to back these up. It may help to break down an issue into smaller sections like when it occurs, how often, by whom, and where to describe the underlying cause.
3. Practice transparency with your team
As a business owner, admitting a mistake or an existing problem in front of your team can’t be easy. However, the root cause of most problems in business is poor communication. And if you don’t want to set a bad example for your employees, it’s wise to practice transparency with them. Keep them in the loop regarding the ups and downs of your operations, and let them know whenever a problem arises. Open communication allows other team members to share their ideas and troubles with you and consequently cause fewer problems in the future.
Additionally, when you swallow your pride and acknowledge a current issue, it prevents the staff from trying to cover their mistakes. Instead, it encourages them to come to you with any error they might have made. Doing so allows you to mitigate the problem before it can get out of hand.
4. Know who can help
If you try hard enough and attempt to understand them, you’ll be able to solve most of the challenges that come your way. If you give up too soon, you won’t ever find a solution. However, sometimes, you may struggle to solve a problem despite spending a lot of time and energy trying to fix it. For example, you may not have the necessary knowledge or skills that can help you overcome a particular obstacle. In such cases, asking for assistance and looking for external sources to fix your problems is alright. But knowing who to call is equally crucial. You don’t want to consult someone who might make things worse for your company.
The business sector continues to expand, with professionals available for every industry and problem imaginable. Knowing beforehand who to ask for help can save you time and money. It can provide you with an easy fix as soon as possible and let you get back to business as usual.
5. Concentrate on what you can control
Market trends depend on various factors that can significantly impact your business revenue. While some of these factors are in your control, others aren’t so much. Crucial things like currency rates, stock market, or even weather conditions can drastically change how your business runs—they’re out of your control. Instead of spending your energy or time worrying about these, it’s better to redirect them somewhere you can make a difference.
As an entrepreneur, having things out of control can be scary. But here are a few ways you can stop worrying about them and concentrate on what you can control instead:
- list down things you can change
- acknowledge your fears
- know your influence
- be consistent with small tasks
6. Track your problems and monitor results
When it comes to business, you may encounter minor problems that don’t require immediate action or big issues that need urgent attention. Most entrepreneurs focus their efforts on trying to solve pressing issues. However, when smaller concerns are left unattended for long enough, they can manifest into a more extensive and riskier challenge. Therefore, you must implement a transparent system that keeps track of any ongoing problems within an organization. Doing this ensures you and your team remain aware of these complications and helps solve them quicker and more efficiently.
Besides tracking ongoing problems, you must also monitor any solutions you provide to observe their impact on your business. Knowing if a solution has the desired effects is essential to implementing better and more competent strategies in case of failure.
Not everyone can run a small business. It’s like a living entity that requires constant supervision and sustenance. Once you stop providing for it, it’ll stop growing and eventually die out. Additionally, it takes special dedication, tremendous hard work, and constant motivation to meet your customers’ needs while facing common business challenges. However, equipping yourself with these tips can enable you to meet whatever obstacles you face head-on and help you achieve the success you want.