4 Key Steps to Help Identify Problems in Your Business

All businesses hit bumps in the road, and it is crucial to approach such bumps with caution. Instead of entering into a full-fledged panic, which could hinder your ability to handle the issue(s), try identifying the business problem and breaking it down into the four key steps suggested in this article.

To begin, it is essential to understand what business issues are and why we want to solve them. Often businesses could have inconspicuous issues that stem from minor flaws, such as not having enough consumer insight, leading to miscalculations in target audiences' interests. Nonetheless, such issues can be handled diligently to alleviate some of the damages they could cause. Other times, however, issues could be much more significant and can cause panic. When the issue is identified in both cases, it is essential to have a consistent process and keep a level-headed approach to help navigate through the problem and overcome it diligently.

By following these four steps, you can identify business issues early on and adopt critical problem-solving skills that aid in handling any potential problems.

1. Ask Yourself Questions
Before deciding what the solution to your problem should be, question how the problem even came to fruition. Depending on the size of the issue at hand, it may take a little longer to decipher what exactly is causing it. Several factors could be driving the case, such as your team, market, competition, business model, etc.

Decide what category the problem falls under, and narrow your focus on that. Let's say you notice a decrease in the number of clients in your store; after digging, you find out that your clients are unhappy with the employees' service. This leads you to question, are the employees poorly trained? Are you not providing the required tools to help them deliver good services? Is it a personal issue? Regardless, you have to analyse what you're questioning and critically approach employees about it before it gets more out of hand. Don't tackle it with a force that could potentially add fuel to the fire.

If you neglect the issue and let it "figure itself out," you will be faced with even more client backlash, which in turn leads to a loss in footfall and, thus, a loss in overall business. This is why, to avoid any more negative client reviews, it would be best to think about where the issue stems from and address it while it's detected early on.

2. Establish the Root of the Issue
It's crucial to acknowledge that there is a deeper meaning behind why things are happening the way they are. If you see a flaw in your marketing efforts, question whether the content reflects the target audience you want, or if, for example, multiple people complained about the same defect in a product, recall it and assess the mistakes in it.

To understand the root cause of the issue, it's essential to track insights on different areas of your business, which we will discuss further in the third point. Generally, however, the root is where the adverse event stems from, so it would be valid to start by defining the issue, collecting data around it (ask why and how this is happening), determining factors causing the problem, identifying modes of correcting the case, as well as ways to prevent it from happening again, and then implement your solution.

3. Get Further Insights
It's always hard to see your flaws, which is why seeing the weaknesses in your own business can also be challenging. This is where external insight comes in. Consulting with co-workers, customers, and anyone in or out of your industry will aid by giving a perspective you may not have even thought of. To do this effectively, you must be open to criticism and transparent throughout your company.

Trust that those closest to you could see flaws you may have neglected and will only point them out to enhance your business, not to tear you down or hurt your ego. It's always the groups who are diverse in backgrounds, skill sets, and knowledge that overpower the industry. This is because each person brings a perspective to problem-solving/identifying and is working towards achieving company success rather than just being "yes men."

For example, if a business is facing an issue in its marketing because it has become too generic, this would be a good sign to get some fresh faces on the team and diversify the perspective, whether it be limited in gender, age, race, and so on.

4. Don't Waste Time
This is the most crucial of the four because fixating on the issue, rather than dissecting it bit by bit through the previously mentioned steps, could lead to a snowball effect of more problems that stemmed from the first. Take a hands-on approach to your business, trust that your employees (with your guidance) understand your vision and know how to execute it, and be ready for when times of crisis arise. Be familiar with different tasks and what they pertain to, and be ready to overcome boundaries rather than panic. Deal with them in a decent time frame, and be realistic with how you approach them.

For example, don't rush to waste resources because you think it will help the issue "blow over," but rather take a decent amount of time to debunk the case and charge when ready. A business is your vision, so keep an open mind when trying to translate it for the rest of the world!

If you're an entrepreneur looking to identify problems and innovate within your business, Creo Incubator's entrepreneurship courses may be just what you need. These courses offer valuable insights into market research, product development, customer discovery, and more, providing entrepreneurs with the knowledge and entrepreneurial skills they need to navigate the challenges of running a successful business.
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