Tips for Small Business Owners: How to Attack Problems from New Angles

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Small business owners are usually fairly adept problem solvers, but no matter how crafty they are, sooner or later they will come up against a problem that requires an extra level of thought to work out. These challenges are usually the tough nuts to crack that make way for real progress once they are worked out, so finding solutions in as short an amount of time as possible is in the best interest of small business owners. There are many ways to get better at critical thinking, and the good news is that by diversifying the range of ways you approach difficult problems, you will be able to create more ideas for solving your issues. Here are some ways that small business owners can develop a wider range of techniques for approaching problems, allowing them to solve a wider range of issues and apply more astute improvements to their businesses.

Have a cup of coffee or green tea. While over-consumption of caffeine carries some negative health risks, a cup of joe now and then can help business owners think more clearly and focus while they are fatigued. Taking a coffee break to think about a tough problem is often the first step business owners take when grappling with a mental roadblock, and it can be something as simple as this that allows you to come up with an elegant solution. However, if you have taken many coffee breaks and still are having trouble coming up with an idea, it might be time to take things a step further.

Create a chart or other visual representation of the problem. It should come as no surprise that different parts of your brain are for processing different kinds of thoughts. By taking a problem that you have been thinking about analytically and representing it in a more creative and dynamic way, you will be able to use a different mindset to examine it which will often yield more creative thoughts. Seeing a picture in your mind versus a picture on paper is a very different way of thinking, and can shake up your preconceived notions around the problem at hand, which is vital for generating more creative solutions.

Do some research. Chances are good that if you have a problem, someone in the past has experienced a similar one and written about it for the benefit of future business owners. Many problems are a simple Google Search away from being fixed, and if your problem is more complicated or nuanced, try breaking it down into separate issues and then searching for advice based off of that approach. You will be surprised how much information you can find by simply tweaking your searches around the keywords related to your problem.

Get some more opinions. On the opposite hand from seeking out expert research and first hand documentation, asking people who you trust what their opinion is of an issue can help you gain a fresh perspective. It’s possible that you know someone who has expertise in the area that you are stuck in, so reaching out to them is a good idea to get started off. Even asking a layperson can give you a new angle to consider, and the benefit here is that if you are over-complicating a problem with a simple solution, they may be able to pick up on that obvious answer right under your nose. In general, a diversity of thoughts applied to a problem will produce more than linear thinking, which is important for small business owners to consider.

Photo Credit  to Terry Johnston on Flickr

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