If we want reliable cars, we turn to German brands. If we prefer affordable labor, we turn to China. But if we want to learn about business problem solving, we can take a cue from the Japanese. The Japanese Kaizen method is a philosophy that means “continuous improvement.” And in business, this is the main sauce to make your company stay afloat.
Without perennially making small and major tweaks in your work ethic, operations, skills, and overall process, you’re left stagnant – right where you first started. We’ve rounded up eight useful steps to help newbie and experienced business owners solve business problems.
1. Determine the problem
You won’t be able to solve a business problem if you’re not going to take proactive measures to really know what it is. So the first step would be to find out what the problem is. Know what’s a hindrance to better business methods.
That said, ensure that you go to the bottom of the issue. Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself:
- What is the problem?
- When did it start?
- How did you find out?
- Identify the duration of the issue
- Who are the people involved?
- Who are the right people to talk to?
Finally, gather all the evidence, data, resources, documents you can to further prove instead of relying on theories.
2. Drill down the problem into macro-problems
Once you have the first set of information you need to tackle on the problem, you can now break it down to macro-problems. The upper hand of breaking down one major issue to smaller ones is that you can assess every process involved in trying to solve the issue.
This will also make you open your eyes to some of the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This means you will see small issues that have a significant impact on the entire business processes.
3. Set your goals
Once you have all the necessary and complete information, it’s time to set your goals. Why? Because without your goals, you can be sidetracked along the way. Without a guide, you can be lost and might deviate from the main issue at hand.
It’s important to set goals and timelines so you know if you’re close to success or if you need to change methods. You can take these three steps:
- Identify the goal
- How does this problem affect the goal
- What benefits will you get from providing solutions to the problem
4. Dig deeper into the root cause
This step is crucial as it needs to tackle all the macro-problems to know the root cause. The keyword here is “root cause.” When you’re facing the problem head-on, try to see beyond the external issues. Although you can easily set up a spy camera with audio to act as your eyes in the company, you wouldn’t know what the underlying issue is when you’re only looking through the lens.
You can talk to various departments and know what their predicaments are. What bothers them? What slows down their operations? Is there a flaw in communication? Is the system not streamlined?
It’s essential that you know what lies underneath the major issue so you know what measures to implement.
5. Develop solutions with the team
During this stage, you need to sit down with a representative from each department to know what works and what doesn’t. Try to gather opinions, suggestions, and feedback. Be receptive to everything.
Then write all solutions down and filter those that align with your goals and the problem at hand. Then you need to assign a person-in-charge for each solution and set a timeline. This is to ensure that no process lags.
6. Implement solutions
Now that you have your action plan, it’s time to execute. Stay within the timeline to avoid losing revenue (if the problem impacts that). Deploy stringent measures so everyone works on a double and not slack around. Lastly, always submit daily reports of what actions they’ve taken and verify.
7. Analyze impact
Once you’ve executed the first few measures, analyze and monitor if they’re making the problem better. If not, go back to step three and repeat the next steps.
8. Employ the Kaizen technique
Once you’ve successfully achieved your goal, always strive to improve. Without continuous improvement, your business will not thrive in a cut-throat industry. You have to make sure you stay on top of the game.
If you see a minor problem, don’t wait until it turns into a colossal issue. Take the bull by the horns and you’ll see your business forge forward.
Eliza Brooks loves to write about home improvement, interior designs, and more. She is currently working with EyeSpySupply, which offers a wide range of spy equipment and surveillance gear, including spy camera with audio, voice recorders, gps trackers, and more.