Got a problem?

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on November 27, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Tools & Resources

Running a small business is all about problems!

  • You’ll be more successful when you identify a problem that your target market is facing… and you solve it.
  • While many of your customers will leave happy, some will return the product or express dissatisfaction with the service – that’s a problem.
  • You’ll also encounter problems each and every day – whether staff issues or accounts receivables challenges or vendor concerns – all of which can hold your business back from the success you desire.
  • Even working on big projects, which requires a certain amount of project management, also requires a healthy dose of problem solving to navigate complex projects through to their successful completion.

With so many problems facing you, how do you run a successful business… and how do you do it enjoyably?sbPuzzled

One of the first things you need to do is accept that there will be problems. Actually, don’t just accept it; embrace it. Realize that you WILL encounter problems in your work and determine that you won’t let them hold you back but you will over come. This is a simple mindset switch that can make all the difference in the world. (Compare it to the small business owners who try once, fail early, and become “guy-shy” after that, never willing to try again).

The next thing you need to do is learn to be creative. Yes, creativity is a learned skill and the more creative you are, the more proficient you will be at creative problem solving. The site is a rich resource of creative ideas and solutions and content. One place to start on that site is this article: Ten Step for Boosting Creativity.
Third, and this is the point that inspired me to write an entire blog about problem solving, make problem solving fun. I was a consultant for a company who contracted several consultants at the same time. We all did our jobs and produced quality work, but the highlight for all of us – and some of the best quality we ever produced – was when the company put on a fun little competition pitting teams of consultants together to come up with creative solutions to their problem. I just read a blog this week at the Harvard Business School, How to Make Solving Problems Fun, that outlined some successes businesses had when they made problem solving fun among their staff. They rightly point out that money is highly valued but a fun prize for problem solving can even trump a monetary reward.

With a three step list like this, problems disappear: Every time they surface, you simply follow these steps toward a solution and then move on to the next problem. There WILL be problems, but that won’t be a problem for you!

Happy problem solving!

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.