5 Problem-Solving Tips for Business Owners

business owner talking to a team about solving a problem

Business problem-solving is not always straightforward, and it requires collaboration, creativity, and a deep dive to uncover the root cause.

Key takeaways:

  • Identify and address the root cause
  • Know when to delegate
  • Take time to outline your thoughts
  • Ask for new perspectives
  • Use the EOS Toolbox™ and the Issue Solving Track™

Solving problems is a process business leaders have to keep improving over time. Issues change from one day to the next. Individuals and teams thus must blend the right planning and organizational skills with a level head and critical thinking. Putting out fires is a regular part of the gig, as there are always unknowns that arise, whether you’ve just started a business or have been in operation for years.

There are a few steps you can take that will help the process every time, even with the most challenging hiccups. These five business problem-solving tips will help you face challenges more efficiently.

1. Address the root cause

One of the biggest mistakes any leader can make is taking care of a surface-level issue without digging to find out what really caused it and addressing the bigger problem. You may see an easy way out with a quick fix, but the issue will keep happening unless you deal with the root cause. 

Uncovering that root cause may mean meeting with all employees to understand better who is involved and who isn’t. Discover where the issue was first noticed and make sure there weren’t any factors or missed steps before that. You may not always be able to solve a problem entirely on the first try, but don’t be afraid to spend the time and energy to get down to the bottom of things.

2. Know when to delegate

As a business owner, it’s too easy to want to handle everything yourself. You may worry that if you pass responsibility to someone else, it won’t get done correctly. But the truth is, many problems will come up—and owners can’t take on each and every one of them. Spreading yourself too thin means that none of the issues are getting the attention they need for proper resolution. 

Instead, give team members a chance to shine by delegating, or at least involve them in the problem-solving process so they can learn something and handle an issue the next time. You’ll be setting up your employees for future success while ensuring more than one mind behind a solution. This diversity of perspective ups the odds of finding a creative, efficient fix that one person may not have thought of on their own.

3. Take the time to outline your thoughts

Depending on the complexity of the problem, there could be lots of moving parts and several people or departments involved. Write everything down in a simple outline of what’s happened and what needs to happen next, or create a chart with the known facts. This exercise helps keep it all straight and track the steps toward success. A diagram can help you assign tasks to other people, too, and explain the problem to others. 

Outlining is a key stepping stone in staying organized, which is an integral part of problem-solving of any kind in the business world. Seeing the facts laid out can also open up opportunities to get more creative with an approach. And it may help you create a realistic timeline for getting an issue resolved and setting appropriate business targets.

4. Ask for new perspectives

You may be an expert in your field, but that doesn’t mean you always have complete vision. Sometimes the answer might be obvious, but you won’t find it unless someone else points it out. Try asking for help from others when facing an especially challenging problem. They could have the exact answer you’re looking for, drawing from their own experience or creative ideas. Also, simply explaining everything aloud allows individuals to break things down and find new perspectives on their own.

5. Use the EOS® toolbox

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) offers problem-solving tools and a coherent business structure a team doesn’t get slowed down by challenges, which are impossible to prevent completely. And the right toolbox enables quick and consistent responses to issues, even if the effort first involves asking more questions. 

There are three critical steps in the EOS approach to solving problems, known as the Issue Solving Track™

  • Identify: More often than not, the real issue isn’t what’s first stated and requires going down a few layers to uncover.
  • Discuss: The discussion stage involves deeper discussions with involved team members—laser-focusing on the issue at hand and saving other problems for another time. Everyone should be able to share their thoughts openly, and this step may take a while.
  • Solve: Actually solving the issue involves clarity: about the real problem, the potential solutions, and all team members who will implement and monitor the solution. The resolution also requires a plan about what business systems need to be involved and whether new technology is necessary to ensure the issue doesn’t keep happening.

These steps could vary based on the size of your team and the depth of the problem. Some issues will be easier than others to solve, but implementing a systemic approach for all challenges gets you used to the process (and better at it).

Strategic business coaching and more

Many problems business owners face may just require the intervention of a professional in an area in which they aren’t an expert. So if you’re running into issues with cash flow, tax preparation, or business growth strategies, Provident CPA & Business Advisors is ready to help. We specialize in tax minimization for business owners and follow the EOS model in our business guidance services. And it all starts with a complimentary 90-minute meeting so we can get to know each other better. 

Contact Provident CPA and Business Advisors to talk to our team and learn more about our services.