Posted by: broshe on May 28, 2012
Many entrepreneurs tend to take deal with their problems at face value. On one hand, they think they’re too busy to dissect the problem and on the other, they know they cannot afford to be bogged down by it. Hence, they resolve the problem at hand and move on. The problems experienced by most business owners are nothing new – but it's how you resolve the problem that makes the difference. Look at a problem, whether trivial or damaging, and ask these questions:
1. How did it come to this? Maybe your deliveries have been late, or the quality of your product isn't what it used to be, or you're losing orders because they're getting lost in cyberland when your server keeps crashing. Whatever the source, find it.
2. How did the problem or challenge take shape? Nothing happens overnight, so when did it start? Drill down. Did you start using a new transportation company? Are you using a new web host or server? Did you lose a key employee?
3. What were the first signs that trouble was brewing? Develop some type of daily, or at least weekly, reporting system so that you have a snapshot of the health of your business. This allows you to have a real time picture, or pretty close to it, of when the problem started.
4. Why didn’t you pay attention to these tell-tale signs? Your clients may be forgiving the first time, but if it happens again they'll take their business elsewhere. But some clients may just go away without ever telling you why they left. Let your ability to put your customers first define you.
5. Who is responsible for the slip up? Human error is one thing, but negligence is an entirely different animal. Maybe some retraining is in order, or if the problem continues you may need to make a more permanent change. Or you may need to switch vendors if they're making you look bad.
6. Did he or she inform you of the problem in a timely fashion? Mistakes happen. But you have a chance at salvaging the situation if you know about it before it hits the fan. You could give an employee or vendor another chance to prove himself. If he’s a respected member of your team, rehiring him could go a long way toward building a strong sense of loyalty and fairness within your organization.
Considering all these questions will lead you to answer the ultimate question: what is the real problem? With every problem that you run into, get to the root of it. There’s no smoke without fire. Big problems don’t just surface; they are often little problems that snowballed into one. Once you can eradicate the root of your problem, you no longer have to worry about seeing them again!