As a long-time business advisor, and an investor in startups along the way, I’m always on the lookout for an entrepreneur who is responding first to a problem in the marketplace, rather than bringing a new technology to the market, assuming it will find a problem to solve.
Because every company has many problems, I believe problem solvers have a higher chance of success.
Although I love technology and passion, they don’t create a company. These strategies are for entrepreneurs and business owners who have not yet identified the value of problem solving.
1. Positivity is the key to recognizing that every problem brings opportunity.
People who view problems as something to overcome will be miserable. It saps passion, energy and reduces success. My mentors are always looking for new problems, celebrating every victory, and seeing failures as opportunities to learn.
A few years ago, Safeway and other big retailers struggled with the growing problem of plastic bag cost and pollution, before realizing they could actually sell reusable cloth bags to customers, as a win to all. It was a cost-recurring expense that became a source of recurring income.
2. Recognize and accept the current problems in your company.
Managers who view problems as burdens tend to conceal them or ignore them until they become a problem. It prevents all parties from understanding the situation, its root cause and how to fix it. This leads to missed opportunities and emotional infighting.
For example, the current pandemic has had a major impact on businesses in both customer service and employee protection. Openly discussing new methods for each, such as work at home and delivery from your home or by driving to pick up, the best people have done it.
3. To evaluate and solve problems, follow a prescribed process.
Do not let your emotions get in the way of your work. Instead, be calm and focused. First, define the problem. Next, document the solutions from experts and team members. Finally, set a deadline. Finalize your decision quickly and create an implementation plan.
One of the most successful entrepreneurs today, Elon Musk, is an outspoken proponent of the First Principle method of evaluating problems, defined long ago by Aristotle. To find the root cause of a problem, you must challenge all assumptions.
4. Don’t be perfectionist – there is no perfect solution to any problem.
Perfectionionism has been shown to be the greatest obstacle in solving problems fast. Perfectionism can slow down progress and cause morale to drop. It also blinds people from practical, quick solutions that are acceptable. This results in unhappy people who make no progress.
Steve Jobs, by his own assessment, started out as an adamant perfectionist. It took three years for the Macintosh to be developed due to Jobs’ obsession with detail. Jobs was able to manage his perfectionist tendencies and eventually succeed in the larger consumer market.
5. 5. Tap into the collective intelligence of others.
Many business leaders worry that they will look weak if they ask for assistance. You should take advantage of the expertise and connections with your customers that business advisors can provide. You will be respected and trusted by them for sharing your knowledge, which will allow you to gain real insights from other perspectives.
Effective listening and building relationships are key to unlocking the potential of the intelligence around us. Begin by getting to know your colleagues and walking around. You can make outside connections by being more involved in your community and industry. Social media and the Internet are key information sources.
These strategies can transform some of the most unpleasant activities you do into rewarding ones that will lead to success in your business.
Or, you might decide to change your career and go your own way. It is never a better time to get started.
Publiated at Tue 24 August 2021, 10:09:26 +0000