In the article “What is the Primary Duty of an Entrepreneur?”, I emphasized the point that entrepreneurship or becoming a successful entrepreneur is all about problem solving and I backed that article up by highlighting the “Ten Steps to Effective Problem Solving in Business.”
Now what entrepreneurial skill is required to solve critical problems in business? What business skill is needed to convert critical problems into business opportunities? Well, I will advice you read on as I highlight six critical problem solving skills entrepreneurs must possess to build a successful business.
6 Problem Solving Skills Entrepreneurs Need
1. Critical Thinking Skills
The human brain has been identified as the most powerful data processing machine but unfortunately; only few people ever utilize their brain power. Critical thinking is the ultimate key to problem solving and is the most important problem solving skill you should develop. Napoleon Hill said that all achievements begin with an idea and ideas are the product of critical thinking.
Critical thinking skill is important because it enables entrepreneurs identify problems and turn such problems into opportunities. Business and financial intelligence, competence, idea generation and strategic project execution are all results of critical thinking.
Most intricate business problems have been solved by challenging the brain to come up with solutions. Business challenges and problems can never be resolved without critical thinking; done either by the entrepreneur or business team. Just as Robert Kiyosaki says “your brain is your most powerful asset.” Now how do you develop your critical thinking skill? Well, I think that’s an answer for another day.
2. Understanding of the business
The next problem solving skill you must develop is thorough understanding of the business you are involved in. And this skill is not one you can develop in your closet; it’s a skill you develop by putting yourself on the line, it’s a skill you develop by getting your hands dirty.
Thoroughly understanding your business to the core is a product of experience; a product of staying in the game through thick and thin. Just as critical thinking is important to the process of effective problem solving in business; so also is understanding a core value to problem solving. Before critical thinking comes understanding.
Now how do you solve a problem when you don’t understand its workings or root cause? How do you solve a business problem you don’t understand? Let me cite a real life illustration so you will better understand my point. Bill Gates became the richest man in the world because he was an expert at solving software marketing problems. Donald Trump became a billionaire because he solves business problems relating to real estate and George Soros became success because he was an expert at handling market volatility. These successful entrepreneurs became billionaires because they thoroughly understood their line of business.
Now what if Bill Gates was presented with a problem relating to stock investing; will he be able to solve it? My answer is no. Why? The reason is because Bill Gates doesn’t understand the intricacies of the stock market. Now how do you gain understanding of your business?
I don’t know but a good way to start is by solving small problems arising from your business and taking note of its lessons. Understanding comes from experience and experience is all about being involved with the business process. You can also increase your level of understanding by attending seminars, reading books, listening to experts, magazines and analyzing industrial trends.
3. People Skills
The third critical problem solving skill you need to develop is people skills; but I prefer to use the word “team spirit.” To become an excellent problem solver; you must learn to think critically in solitude as well as part of a team.
Business and investing are team sports, and to succeed; you must learn how to think in synergy with your business management team. You must be able to assemble different experts from different walks of life and channel their intelligence to the problem at hand. This can never be achieved without a mastery of people management skills.
The fourth problem solving skill you must strive to develop as an entrepreneur is faith. The holy bible says that “with faith, you can move mountains.” I listed faith as a skill because it’s a trait you are not born with; you develop it over time by increasing your spiritual understanding and knowledge. Is it possible to solve a problem you have lost hope on? The answer is no.
To find an effective solution to a business problem; you must believe that a solution exist, you must have a firm belief that the problem can be solved. Faith is important to critical problem solving because it keeps the mind focused on finding a solution to the problem; rather than lamenting over the problem. Just as Ingvar Kamprad says “the word impossible has been deleted from our dictionary.”
The next critical problem solving skill needed by every entrepreneur is decisiveness. After analyzing several possible solutions to the problem at hand; you must be able to arrive at a decision quickly.
Take a look at successful entrepreneurs that solved intricate business challenges and societal problems; and you will see decisiveness at their core. Henry Ford, Bill Gate, Donald Trump, Andrew Carnegie, Richard Branson and Larry Ellison are entrepreneurs that became famous because of their ability to reach decisions quickly.
The last skill you need to effectively solve problems in business is courage. Courage to face your problems squarely, courage to face the consequences of your decision; and courage to take extreme measures or solutions. Just like faith, courage is developed over time through personal mastery.
In conclusion, these are six most important skills required to effectively solve intricate business problems. Develop these problem solving skills and I will see you at the pinnacle of business success.