- Define the problem. Let’s say your sales have been dropping consistently for several months. In this case the problem is that sales have been dropping. The problem is not that someone is bewitching you or wishes you bad luck. Be very clear on the problem you’re trying to solve because it will determine whether you will actually solve the problem or not.
- Determine the root cause(s) of the problem. Analyse the data to find the root cause why sales are falling. Is it because of limited awareness, marketing, distribution, stock outs, competition, quality issues, pricing, etc. Talk to your customers, retailers, employees, etc. to find out why sales have dropped. Brain storm with the team and find out the real root cause of the problem.
- Develop alternative solutions. Let’s say we found out that the real reason sales have dropped out is because of low product awareness. We should then brain storm different options to rectify the issue. We can re-activate certain market segments. We can run some product awareness and promotion campaigns. We can give customers discounts to incentivise them to push our products. We can recruit more agents to spread the word. There are many potential solutions to the identified problem. List all of them without vetoing any.
- Select a solution. Run a feasibility analysis on the identified solutions to choose one or two which presents the better option given your constraints in resources.
- Implement the solution. Then we execute the solution. If we decide to run a promotion campaign we then design the messaging, mobilize resources, choose the media platforms and run the campaign.
- Evaluate the outcome. At this stage we collect feedback and assess if the campaign is working or not. We may collect data on people reached, sales, customer feedback, costs of campaign, etc.
This structured approach to problem solving will take the guess work out of navigating your most painful problems in your personal life and business.