How to Identify Problems in Your Business and Fix Them

Improve Your Business Performance by Finding What Isn't Working

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A Simple Process to Find Issues in Your Business and Take Action

Even in the highest performing businesses there are  business there areas which are their weaknesses or aren’t working as well as they could. As a manager or business owner you may have a feeling that something isn’t working, but you may not be able to put your finger on it. Here is a simple method to identify problems in your business and improve in these areas. 

5 Steps to Find What Isn’t Working and Fix It

  1. List of your processes

    Make a list of all types of processes you have in your business. Break down all processes into micro-steps to see all activities individually. 

  2. Prioritise

    Establish the priorities and shortlist the 5 most important activities. Think what has the greatest impact on your business outcomes, e.g. when are you most likely to close the sale, what causes losing customers if things go wrong, what contributes most to your business growth, what is most important for your customers. 

  3. Assessment

    Evaluate how well you perform in each of the shortlisted, most important areas. Establish the typical outcomes for each part of the process, when issues arise, do your employees know what to, whether you have scrips for each part of the process etc. The goal of this stake is to identify the areas with the lowest assessment scores – those will be the ones to take action on.

  4. Identify what to improve

    Next get your management team involved and ask them what can be improved in the selected areas and how they think this can be done. This make mean taking tough decisions, for example firing the weakest performing employees.

  5. Take action

    Create and action plan to make the improvements. Remember to be clear on how you will measure your progress, the timeline and communicating in clearly with your team. 

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This is the way to deal with finding issues in your business and the ways to improve. One thing worth mentioning here is how easy it is to make mistakes in your own thinking and assessing the situation. 

Pitfalls in your own thinking to avoid in this process

As an entrepreneur who built a business and created all process in it, you may easily fall into a trap of your own ways of thinking and get attached to specific ways of doing things. This may unknowingly stifle your progress. Here 3 common thinking mistakes to watch out for:

  • Falling for your own biases

    As a smart human you create thinking shortcuts to make your life easier. Be aware of the shortcuts your mind creates, as they may limit your ability to find and solve problems as a manager. They can make you get stuck or misjudge the situation. Learn how to manage your biases.

  • Judging subjectively

    To avoid this, develop empathy, find out what are the unmet needs of other people involved (customers and employees). Be curious about others and their point of view, test the customer’s experience, see what others ask about.

  • Focusing on one problem instead of patterns

    When analysing problems we often get emotionally involved (as we do when we care) and as a result we may focus on those which get us instead on the most important ones. To avoid this, have a process for collecting and evaluating information. You want to know the facts such as: what are the root causes of the problem, who are the stakeholders, what are the risks and benefits. Look for patterns and repeating issues and similarities in situations.


Final notes

This is how to find issues in your organisation and create a plan to improve. Once you have found things to improve, know how to measure the progress, you can step back and watch your business grow. Easier said than done, but the concept is really simple. As an entrepreneur who wants to scale up, you want to build a business in which the daily operations work without your interference. 

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