Today’s guest post comes from an essential member of our Belle team, the organized and super smart Ryan Baker, co-founder of Upsourced Accounting. His post today on getting to the root of your problem is a MUST read. Be sure to check out the Upsourced Accounting website if you need a hand with your business’s finances!
Life as a business owner can be pretty fast paced. We all know how it goes; problems seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. You’ve finally found two hours in between meetings to clear out your inbox, and there it is – a not-so-cute mole of a problem peeking its head up, needing to be resolved. It’s much easier, and can seem more time efficient in the short term, to react right away. It feels good to reach for the hammer and bop that sucker right back under the ground where it came from as quickly as possible so you can get back to digging yourself out of email jail.
Problem solving in business can feel good, but process solving is better. Take the extra time to find the root cause of the problem and develop a process to keep it from happening again. This will be slower at first, but pays big dividends down the road.
Do What You’re Good At
Business owners are go-getters and problem solvers by nature, so it’s tempting to wear a lot of different hats and do a little bit of everything to keep the business going. The truth is that you’re better at some things than you are at others. Your talents act as a multiplier for your efforts, so even though you may be saving some money by running your own social media campaign or keeping your own books, there can be a hidden cost to doing these things yourself – the opportunity cost of not spending more of your time doing what you’re good at.
If you feel like you’ve been scratching and clawing, but not making any progress, take a step back and refocus your efforts on the unique set of talents and abilities you’ve been blessed with and have worked hard to develop. It’ll pay off for your business, and it’ll pay off for the rest of us too. We need you, because we’re good at different stuff than you are.
Understand Your Unit Economics
Can I afford to hire another employee? How much should I spend on advertising each month? What was my profit margin last year?
These are all pretty daunting questions that will swirl around the head of every business owner at one point or another. An important step to problem solving in business is being able to understand what the economics of your business look like. To understand how much you should spend on advertising each month, for example, you would want to estimate how much you think it should cost you to acquire each new customer and what you expect the long term value of each of those customers to be. Armed with this information, you can make better decisions about how to market your business and track your actual results against what you expected to see. You may get it wrong at first, but if you’re at least setting specific objectives for the projects you’re investing in and analyzing the results, you’ll be in a much better position the next time you need to decide if it makes sense to invest in something new.
Are you a first time entrepreneur? Do you have any tips for getting to the root of a problem? Leave a comment below!
Ryan Baker is a member of our Belle team and the co-founder of Upsourced Accounting, a small business professional accounting organization that streamlines and personalizes its services for each client.