Problems are a way of life. If you aren’t encountering problems on a daily basis, then you aren’t an entrepreneur! Of course, being a successful entrepreneur requires more than just encountering new challenges.
To be successful, you must also be able to come up with effective solutions for the never-ending problems you will inevitably face. This is how you develop new ideas that will help your clients. It’s how you will grow your personal brand. Unfortunately, while a lot of people want to be entrepreneurs, they feel like they aren’t that good at problem-solving, but the good news is I am! (and I’m here to help)
The bad news: you won’t last long as an entrepreneur if you aren’t a good problem-solver. More good news: just like any other skill, problem-solving is a skill. And it’s one you can improve in as little as 24 hours — here’s how:
Lose Your Patience
Entrepreneurship isn’t for procrastinators. It’s not for people who like to take it slow. I’m not called the impatient entrepreneur for nothing. You have to be able to tackle problems head-on and pivot quickly if you want to survive in our chaotic (and ever- changing) marketplace.
So, step one to becoming a better problem-solver: be impatient.
If there was ever a time for you to find a solution to the problem, it was yesterday. But yesterday is already over and done with. That means the next best time to find a solution is right now.
One of the best ways to get the problem-solving juices flowing is to force yourself to think critically in the present. Give yourself a hard and firm deadline for finding a solution. Don’t set that deadline for the end of the week, or even the day after tomorrow.
Find a solution today.
Thinking in the now prevents procrastination — the bane of all problem- solving. Forcing yourself to act decisively will ensure that you don’t give in to the temptation to put off the issue for another day. The entrepreneurs that are slow to act are the ones who fail to innovate, and more often than not, they’re the ones that go out of business.
Ask Why (Over And Over And Over Again)
Have you ever gotten annoyed at a little kid who just keeps asking “Why?” over and over again? Sure, it can be a pain to try to keep coming up with new answers that the kid never seems to be satisfied with. But for entrepreneurs, this can actually provide a smarter approach to problem solving.
I recently had the chance to talk to Alan Vu, cofounder and CEO of Here & Now Supply Co. During our conversation, he explained, “Repeatedly asking yourself ‘why’ helps you get to the root of a particular challenge you are facing. It requires that you think deeper about the problem. This helps you slow down and gain much-needed insight on how to approach the issue, which will deliver more meaningful results.”
Vu’s sentiments directly reflect the reasoning behind what is often referred to as the “Five Whys” method of problem-solving. When facing a challenge, start by asking why. For example, you might ask “why aren’t I getting any high-paying clients?”
Don’t be satisfied with the first answer you come up with. Now that you have answer number one, ask yourself why that is. If the reason you aren’t getting high-paying clients is because you don’t have many leads, ask yourself why you aren’t getting leads. Typically, asking “why?” five times will help you find the core of the problem so you can come up with an effective solution.
Seriously Expand Your Way Of Thinking
Problem-solving isn’t always about fixing something that’s wrong. A lot of the time, it’s about finding an opportunity for you to grow your personal brand. It’s about looking for ways to innovate.
If your old way of trying to solve problems doesn’t seem to be working, there’s no point in doing the same thing over and over again. Closed, negative thinking will make it harder to come up with innovative solutions. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut where you become so focused on what’s wrong, that finding a solution seems overwhelming.
Instead, jump-start your ideation process by focusing on a more positive, expansive way of thinking. Use prompts like “Imagine if…” or “What if…” to help you think outside the box. This simple exercise can help you find fresh (and sometimes crazy) approaches to pressing challenges.
Not every idea that comes from this more imaginative way of thinking is going to be a winner. That’s okay. Resist the desire to immediately toss out any ideas that sound weird or dumb. Write everything down. This way, at the end of your brainstorming exercise, it will be easier to identify which ideas are actually workable. And for more business-altering, deep-dive techniques CLICK HERE join my free Crash Course.
Becoming A True Solution-Finder
A few mental tricks and a positive mindset are key for effective problem-solving. But the biggest secret to being a successful, problem-solving entrepreneur? Look at things through the lens of finding solutions.
When you proactively look at the problems your industry or your brand is facing as an opportunity to find new, innovative solutions, you’ll be on the right track to finding something that works. As you become a better problem-solver, you’ll find the inspiration needed to take your business to the next level.
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