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The Team at NOW bring you topics of interest to owners of small businesses. Please feel free to leave a comment or let us know if there are particular topics you'd like us to cover.

Problem solving

The Team - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Problems, problems! 

It seems the more business we do, the more problems arise. 

If your wonderful little gem of a small business idea has now resulted in you becoming the chief fire fighter in your business, you will appreciate the frustrating nature of problem-solving.

Now, we could tell you that problems are just challenges or learning opportunities – but, let’s face it,  that’s not going to be of much help to you when the PC has given up the ghost, you can’t find that important document and your trusty office assistant has telephoned in sick for the third time this month is it!

So, is there a practical way of approaching problems and reaching a viable solution? Well, we think there is. 

However, what you need to do when facing problems is to remember and appreciate this one important fact – you know the answer and just need a process to get it out from your subconscious filing system.

If you have accepted this premise (and why not, you are a business owner when all is said and done) then take a deep breath, find a quiet place and ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. What exactly is the problem?
    Define it precisely, accurately and objectively.  Just the facts now – emotions can cloud your judgement.
  2. What is the cause of the problem?
    Detail all the underlying factors as you see them.  Try to list everything!
  3. What are possible solutions?
    Don’t think too deeply here.  Be spontaneous.  On a blank sheet of paper brainstorm 6 or 7 potential solutions (or use NOW Business Mastery’s Aspiration/Brain pad).  When you have exhausted the alternatives look at them more closely and then rank them in terms of how you perceive their effectiveness, numbering them accordingly.
  4. What methodology or resources should I use to fix the problem?
    List people, technology and approaches that should or must play a role in the solution.  Put a time-frame around the solution to make it real.
  5. What is the ultimate goal?
    What will you accomplish by fixing this? What does the ideal solution look like?  Is it really worth correcting or can it just be avoided?  Listing these factors also helps you to really celebrate when you have the problem licked.

Approaching problem solving in this way makes seeming insurmountable problems easier to understand and provides clear focus.  Suddenly the overwhelming fog clears and you are free to getting back to doing what you want to do – building and growing that thriving business.

Comments
Dave commented on 30-Mar-2010 02:17 PM
In point 3 you mention Now Business Mastery's Brain Pad. Is this on the site somewhere?
Jon Elbery commented on 02-Apr-2010 09:54 AM
Dave,
Click on the link in the blog to download

Jon

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