Having business problems is not the biggest problem in an entrepreneurial life. All human beings have some types of problems regardless if they are small or big one.
Each our day start and finish with some type of business problems. In the morning, we start solving problems that have been defined yesterday. At the evening, we discover other business problems that will need to be solved tomorrow. Our projects exist because we want to solve some type of problem with their implementation. Our daily, weekly, or monthly tasks all solve part of some problem or full problem.
That’s our job, to solve the problems that come each day to us ready to be solved or requiring our attention and specific action in order to bring back our system (as a human, organizational, business or other systems) in the desired state.
Business Problems Need to be Discovered
In my experience, there are two types of problems, and always they will exist especially when you are running the business.
The first one type of problems is visible problems, something that can easily be seen from your side as an entrepreneur, or your team members. For example:
- Our sales numbers decline because our customers continue to complain that our products have a poor quality. In this case, poor quality is the problem that we have discovered because we have easily related declining sales numbers with customer’s complaints about the poor quality.
- Our sales numbers decline because our sales reps don’t know how to explain and demonstrate the quality of our products. Here, again the bad sales numbers are related to the competence of the sales reps and the main problem here that will require solution is to increase the sales reps competence related to the sales process and products and services that they need to sell.
- Our sales number decline because we have not designed an appropriate marketing system to bring more customers into our sales funnel. Again, we are related sales numbers with the low level of acquired customers and the biggest problem here that is poorly designed marketing system.
As you can see, when it comes to the visible problems we are using some key performance indicators and compare them with what happened in the company in order to conclude that there is a specific problem related to the specific indicator that we follow.
The second type of business problems is problems that I call them invisible problems. They are more dangerous for all business owners. Because if you can’t discover the problem, it will continue to exist, and your business will suffer quietly but for sure. For example:
- Our sales numbers decline, but we cannot relate to anything that we are doing in our company. We will locate the problem because the revenue will decline, but we cannot find out why our customers start to avoid doing business with our company. In such a situation, many times entrepreneurs think that it is the problem because of the bad economy, or it is something that will be periodic and after some period of time, everything will come to its own place without taking something to solve the real problem.
- Our customers aren’t satisfied with our products and services, but they are not complaining, simply start to avoid doing business with us. Such an invisible problem will become visible, but it will be too late to take something in order to bring back to the previous position.
It is important for you as an entrepreneur to try to discover all types of problems in your company, because if you do not know that they are existing, you will not take necessary action steps required to solve them.
All Business Problems Have Reasons
All the problems in your company appear because of something. That something is called a source or the reason for the problem.
For example, we have discovered four main problems that will need to be solved:
- Poor quality of our products and services,
- Poor competence of our sales reps,
- Poor marketing system and
- Customers don’t complain about our mistakes, and we have not timely information to do something about that.
The next thing that you will need to do as an entrepreneur is to brainstorm all possible reasons for occurring of these problems. As you can see these four problems are general problems that your company has at this moment. But, they are resulting because of something you are currently doing or not doing. Let’s take a look at possible reasons for all these problems.
- Poor quality of products and services. As possible reasons related to this problem can be the poor quality of supplied materials, big variability of production processes, employees mistakes, poorly designed quality control…
- Poor competence of our sales reps. Possible reasons related to this problem can be poor sales reps selection system, non-existence of clearly defined sales processes, sales reps aren’t trained enough…
- Poor marketing system. Possible reasons for this problem can be not the existence of precisely defined marketing processes, we don’t have a performance measurement system related to marketing activities, our marketing efforts are focused on wrong target customers…
- Customers don’t complain about our mistakes. As possible reasons related to this problem are the lack of building long-term relationships with the customers, we are not having tools for receiving customers feedback…
All Business Problems Aren’t Same
Now when you have the list of all your business problems, before you start with planning the solutions, you will need to be sure that you will start with the most important problems for your company. These are problems which solution will bring you the biggest improvements when it comes to your business.
With examples, I am using in this article where the main problem is the decline in sales numbers you will need to simply ask yourself what is the problem which solution will bring the biggest increase of our sales. Then, what is the next problem and so on? In such a way, you will be sure that your focus will be on the most important problems as a first.