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How Do You Solve Business Problems? - Articles Surfing
Running a business creates many problems that are unique to each business. The first step in solving a problem is by asking revealing questions and understanding the symptoms.
What are the symptoms of the problem? Often in business many managers spend a lot of time dealing with symptoms of a problem whilst totally ignoring the cause of the symptoms. Attempting to solve only the symptoms whilst not truly appreciating the core problem can lead to even greater trouble in the longer term.
Let us examine a situation whereby my previous business had declining sales. Therefore the fall in sales was a symptom and we now had to get to the root cause. Why were our sales declining? Was our product not as good as the competitors? Were our methods of generating sales inferior to our competitors? Were our customers leaving us because we were not able to meet their delivery deadlines?
We used to supply a large electronics company with packaging. Gradually over time they started buying less and less. When I investigated the problem it actually turned out that our guy who was in charge of liaising with that customer did not get on too well with the head of production in the electronics company that actually used our packaging.
Now the head of production did not have any authority to do any buying but because he did not get on at all with our man due to previous history* he wanted his company to change suppliers. He was actually trying to find weaknesses in our products where none existed.
The symptom was declining sales. The problem had nothing to do with prices, quality or delivery. Rather it was purely created due to the inability of our man being able to communicate with their head of production!
Once the core problem was understood we focused on building good relationships with the head of production. Now we had a girl in our office who worked solely in distribution but it so turned out that she was a good friend of this chap. We changed her role so that only she liaised with this guy in production. Sales with our customer rose very quickly and soon were back to their normal levels.
So the first step in solving a problem in business is to identify all the symptoms. Once the symptoms have been well defined and investigated then we can start searching for the underlying problem.
When we have identified the problem then by further analysis we can come to a solution that works well and deals with the core issues.
Do you have a business problem? What are the symptoms? How did they appear and in what time frame? Are the symptoms related? Don't try and solve the symptoms rather focus on the problem. What is the underlying problem? How can you best deal with it effectively?
How did the problem occur? When did it first occur? What weaknesses did it identify in your business model? How do you overcome this weakness? How do you solve the underlying problem so that the symptoms disappear completely?
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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