Solving Major Business Problems
If you start and run your own business, you are going to run into some major business problems … a lot!
What is a “Major Business Problem?”
Major business problems are a result of several issues happening in your business. Simple problems are much easier to solve because what is happening is clear and small in nature. However, most problems in a business are major but are often seen as simple.
Most business problems are seen as simple because people only look at the symptoms of business problems and not the deep-rooted causes. When you start to dig deeper into a problem and understand what is really happening, the problem quickly becomes overwhelming.
This is because major business problems involve system-wide issues and cannot be easily fixed.
So, how do you solve major business problems?
This is the focus of this column in Industry Expert Magazine. Every month, we will focus on discussing major business problems that cover the spectrum of starting a new business, growing a business, scaling a business, and improving a business.
Since there typically is a lot of overlap between these four areas, the solutions will highlight how you solve problems that are very challenging in nature. These solutions occur at one of three levels:
- Tactical actions that specifically address one area in one aspect (Start, Grow, Scale, or Improve)
- Operational actions that address multiple areas in one aspect
- Strategic actions that address multiple aspects
Each of the four major areas of this column will be broken down into six key aspects. I do this for simplicity and education. I have found that being able to explain these four major business areas in much simpler terms makes solving complex problems much easier.
In this column, these are the concepts that we will discuss.
Starting A Business
This will cover everything from the thought of starting a new business to turning the lights out at the end of a good run. The six areas we will focus on are as follows:
- Assessment: Assessing your readiness to start your own business.
- Ideation: The generation of business ideas.
- Research: Conducting market
- Filing and Paperwork: The right documentation foundation for a business
- Strategic Business Planning: Starting off strategically to avoid business failure.
- Begin With the End in Mind: Ending your business well.
Growing A Business
Business growth is all about increasing revenue for the business. The six areas we will focus on are as follows:
- More Customers: Bringing in more customers means more revenue from
- More Products: If your business sells things as part of the revenue model, adding new products can increase revenue.
- More Services: Same with products, a company can create new services for existing customers and attract new customers.
- Adjust Prices: One way to increase revenue without necessarily growing customers is to adjust your prices.
- Bundling: When you have multiple products and services that are related, you can bundle them into new offerings.
- Recurring Revenue: this is a way to look at your products and services in a recurring manner to get customers to buy more over time through consistent, repeatable business.
SCALING A Business
Most people confuse scale with growth, but they are inherently different activities. When you grow your business, you add complexity, and this causes problems. Scale is all about dealing with these problems. The six areas of scale we will focus on are as follows:
- Strategy: If your company does not have a strategy, start here. If you do, continually ensure it is still in line with how your company has grown or will grow.
- Operating Model: How your business operates and provides value to the customer to meet its strategy is very important to scalability.
- Organizational Structure: With an operating model in place, you must properly structure your company to deliver on the model or it will not be effective.
- Operating System: If you think of your company as a machine, all machines have some sort of operating system. As you upgrade your strategy, operating model, and organizational structure, you must also determine if you need an operating system upgrade as well.
- Money: Scaling typically requires some sort of monetary investment.
- People, Processes, and Technology (PPT): All three of these items must be examined and adjusted to scale growth demands.
Improving A Business
Improvements in business often occur as an afterthought and seldom get much attention. However, improvement is constantly required if you hope to be successful in business. The six areas we will focus on are as follows:
- Capital Improvement: Capital improvements include any addition or alteration to your business property that either:
- Substantially adds to the value of the property.
- Appreciatively prolongs the useful life of the existing property.
- Business Intelligence: This encompasses your strategies, technologies, and activities used for data collection, management, analysis, and reporting.
- Process Improvement: Process improvement is what most think of when you talk about improving a business. Continuous or otherwise, it is focused on reducing process cycle time, improving quality, reducing costs, addressing risk, and improving the customer-employee experience.
- Preparedness: This is called many different things, such as disaster planning, risk management, or emergency planning. I simply call it preparedness planning.
- Product and Service: Outside of improving the processes that create and deliver a business product or service, you can improve the thing itself.
- Organizational: The last way to improve your business is through organizational improvements. Organizational improvement is designed to improve your brand, culture, engagement, corporate responsibility, and other holistic organizational constructs.
As you can see, major business problems often span many different and diverse aspects of your business. With over 30 years of experience improving organizations and over 13 years as a Fractional Chief Operating Officer, I have seen many different system-wide issues. Issues not solved by simple solutions. I have made it my career to understand major business problems and dig deep into the root causes. This often results in extremely unorthodox thinking and solutions.
If you are struggling with a large business problem and want to see ideas, you can pose your questions on my Ask Me Anything site. In this column, I will compile and address ways to overcome these biggest business problems. Pose your questions at https://bit.ly/ccama22/.