If you have a business, you have business problems. Sometimes they are problems that keep cropping up. Here’s how to handle them.
When you first started your business, you probably thought that you were finally on your way to striking it rich. However, you were probably surprised at how many problems you had to deal with on a regular basis — business problems you had been sheltered against when you were an employee focusing on just one small aspect of a business.
Now that you’re the boss, you probably feel that you’re experiencing far more breakdowns than breakthroughs. From things like not having enough product on the shelves to knowing where to invest for your business, your problems can appear daunting and limitless.
The way to take back your power against a siege of misfortune is to learn how to get good at problem-solving. Once you take care of a few major bottlenecks in your business, many related issues begin to dissipate on their own.
Use a Tested Problem Solving Technique
There are programs and classes for many things one might need to learn when finally taking the reins of a company. Public speaking courses from a place like Dale Carnegie so you feel more at ease giving presentations, learning another language through Berlitz or a computer program like Rosetta Stone if you’ll have overseas customers, and other resources can help you be a better business owner.
Another example would be Go Lean Six Sigma, a problem-solving methodology that combines Lean and Six Sigma, two powerful processes for business improvement. It works far better than Lean or Six Sigma alone. By using this framework, you have a better chance to delight customers, slash costs, boost profits, and build a great team.
Let’s break this down by defining Lean and Six Sigma:
- What is Lean?
Lean process improvement focuses on detecting waste in a business process and removing it. Waste can be defined with the word DOWNTIME, which serves as a mnemonic.
- D stands for Defects—quality problems in a product or service that require time and money to correct.
- O stands for Overproduction—creating too many products, making it difficult to store or sell these products.
- W stands for waiting—a lag in the production process from one step to the next.
- N stands for Non-Utilized Talent—employees are disengaged or not doing the work in the best possible way.
- T stands for Transportation—moving things or information not required in a process from one location to the next.
- I stands for Inventory—inventory or information that is idle and not being used.
- M stands for Motion—inefficient motion of information, people, or equipment due to some blockage, for instance, not enough workspace or spending time looking for misplaced tools.
- E stands for Extra Processing—unnecessary work that is done to produce a product or service.
Once these forms of waste are removed everything moves faster and more efficiently. Things get done in a more economical way that improves satisfactory quality.
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a method that was developed by Motorola in 1986. Since it has been taught, it has helped almost every kind of industry, in some cases saving an organization billions by improving business processes. The name itself is derived from a statistical concept to describe a process where there are only 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
While there are many tools and techniques to Six Sigma, the core of the methodology uses the DMAIC steps.
- D stands for Define—defining the problem.
- M stands for Measure—quantify the problem.
- A stands for Analyze—find the cause of the problem.
- I stands for Improvement—resolve the situation and test to see that the solution consistently works.
- C stands for Control—ensuring that the solution will be maintained.
Manage Common Business Problems
Here are some common business problems that you’ll be in a better position to deal with once you’ve acquired your lean six sigma training and certification:
- Predicting the future: Although it’s not possible to accurately predict the future, it is possible to get a general idea of probabilities by extrapolating on the trajectory of current market and business trends and getting a better idea of how to position your business.
- Improving financial management: If you’re running a small business, it’s easy to get focused on big-picture thinking and discard paying attention to financial management issues like reducing costs, increasing profits, and improving cash flow. Problem-solving may be necessary to untangle messes and get reorganized. Regaining control of your money is a necessary first step before you can think of scaling up your business.
- Fixing performance issues: Inefficiencies in a team’s performance or defects in the quality of products or services might cause a business to experience unnecessary losses. Problem-solving identifies what’s not working well and what to do about it.
If your business is experiencing a wide range of challenges, the best way to meet them is to adopt a problem-solving methodology to give you the expertise, skills, and tools you need to identify what’s not working so you can address each major problem in an effective way.