by Michael S. Melfi, author of “The Simple Secrets of Being an Entrepreneur“
As an entrepreneur there will always be obstacles to overcome, challenges to face and problems to solve. Becoming a pragmatic problem solver is one of the most valuable skill sets an entrepreneur can acquire. Every day is another adventure, and sometimes on those adventures, your job is to put out fires.
It is in these moments success is struck or failure is found. So how exactly does one become a problem solver?
1. Have the right Attitude.
There will be problems in your business that you’ve never seen before, and it’s your job to handle these problems with confidence, resourcefulness, and conscientiousness. Your mindset and ultimately your attitude will set the tone for your ability to respond, your ability to create and your ability to manage and lead. To gain that focused, positive mindset and attitude, it starts with stopping negative thoughts and words. It starts with changing your internal and external vocabulary. It’s about how you think, so you must start to think differently. Believe you can solve it first and foremost.
2. Think of it Differently.
The key to great problem solving is to be able to think outside of your own perspective. This requires taking a different vantage point, removing emotion and considering all obstacles as you look at solutions to the problem. Start by asking questions, challenging why something is the way it is. Ask questions til you get to the real problem and this will often require you putting yourself in the shoes of other people, other stakeholders. As Einstein said “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
3. Focus on the Solution.
Once you uncover the problem – it’s time to start becoming a facilitator to the solution. This means calling on experts in the niche you’re having a problem around. As you go through the process of developing a solution – it’s important to come to terms with the fact that if the solution had already existed- it would have been implemented a long time ago.
4. The Team, The Team, The Team.
Your team will assist you in solving any problem. Even if you do not have a formal team, your friends, family and even your social media network connections are there as a resource. It means openly communicating with your team about the problem to come up with collaborative solutions. It also means that you should be encouraging people within your team to reach outside their comfort zones and work together to not only develop an innovative solution – but to implement it.
When going through this process – it’s really important to surround yourself with open minded people. Close minded team members could just end up causing more problems than you already have. While it is important to have someone challenge the solution’s viability, however, in the brainstorming/ development stage they should not voice negative opinions., No idea at this stage is a bad idea. Working with open minded problem solvers will not only help you get a little uncomfortable and outside the box, they’ll help uncover creative new solutions that you never would have thought of otherwise.
5. You do not know Everything.
And finally, as you start working with these open-minded peers – it’s important to make sure you put your ego to the side. As the leader – you won’t always come up with the best solution on your own. Quite often it may end up being a team member that discovers the best solution for the company. In this instance – it’s not only important to put your ego to the side and do what’s best for the organization, but also to give credit and praise to the person who developed the solution. This will ensure that people are outspoken during the problem solving processes moving forward.
Accepting these five steps an entrepreneur will be well on their way to being a problem solver and avoiding the death trap of paralysis by analysis. By focusing on being a problem solver, the fear of making the wrong choice is removed. Instead, they can focus on an outcome and creating a solution.
Michael Melfi is an IP attorney, entrepreneur coach, investor, media personality and four-time author. Michael has a dynamic background that allows him to provide insightful legal services, while creating business development strategies for funding and growth. He is author of “The Simple Secrets of Intellectual Property“, “The Simple Secrets of Being an Entrepreneur“, “The Simple Secrets of Social Media“, and “The Simple Secrets of Crowdfunding“.