Business Solutions
What are the 5 Key Problem Areas in Business That Need Solving?

What are the 5 Key Problem Areas in Business That Need Solving?

The most pressing problems being experienced by businesses are not always evident. Sure, you may see that there is a problem and you can identify the symptoms but what is the underlying cause? And the obvious next question is how do you resolve these problems?

Usually the problem-solving process begins with identifying the problem you want to solve. If you only know the symptom, though, you need to dig a lot deeper – understand the root cause and its impact on your business, customers, supply chain, suppliers and bottom line.

What Problems Warrant a Solution?

There is no sense in pushing things “under the carpet”, however some problems just cannot be ignored. I like to call these BFUPs (Big Fat Urgent Problems), which require businesses to seriously “beef up” their insights and understanding of what is holding them or their business units back.

How do you do it? You start with the end in mind and focus on “the usual suspects” first:

  1. Employees and Management
  2. Suppliers
  3. Customers
  4. Your Supply Chain
  5. Executives and Decision-Makers

Begin by focusing on the core issues relating to each of these five elements in every business and then determine which are not operating optimally. From there you can determine broadly the focus area where problems are arising from and drill down. But first you need to have the “end in mind” and this inquiry usually takes us to either how do you save money or the other side of the coin, which is how do you make money. By looking after these two objectives you are creating Shareholder Value. This is where you work back from!

So simply put, if something does not make you money or it loses you money then it diminishes your shareholder value and needs to be addressed. It is this mindset and analysis of the key elements that will help you pinpoint where those challenges lie; what the root-cause is; and then empower you to source or put in place the most appropriate solutions to those problems.

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Problems are often hiding in plain sight and we do not notice them ourselves because we are so invested in the system itself. This is exactly where the value of external consultants come in. If you do decide to handle the process internally, these are the “stones that need turning”:

  • Employees and Managers – Try to focus on how satisfied and productive your employees and managers are. Are you retaining your talent or losing people at a rate of knots? Do people work out of fear or desire? Do you have industrial relations issues that should just not occur?
  • Suppliers – Are you happy with the quality, price, efficiency and general customer service of your suppliers? Is this relationship maximising your value to your customers and maintaining your reputation?
  • Customers – Are your customers, both internal and external, delighted with the service and products you provide? Just as you would choose a suppliers that meets your quality, price, service and after-sale customer service requirements, remember that your customers do too.
  • Supply Chain – Is your supply chain established and running optimally in terms of procurement, distribution, logistics or are there “roadbumps”?
  • Executive Team – You need to ensure that your business leaders are knowledgeable, not just in general business terms but that they have their finger on the pulse of the business at all times. Along with this are they decisive and incisive, making decisions that are growing the business financially and reputationally.

It is always more difficult to discern these problems when you are in the thick of things. Each of these poses a threat to either or both your business’ ability to make or save money. This directly reduces your shareholder value.

Given the competition in today’s market and the amount of innovative new options to your business, products and services, can you afford not to solve your problems? I would say definitely not!

Remember, stagnation is a business threat itself!

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