Thinking through challenges is the key to business success. So, how is it done?
First, remember that how you think is everything. Being positive will yield tremendous results … if you can avoid negative influences around you.
To solve those challenges, you've heard that you should think outside the box. But, what does that really mean? First, you have to step into the box.
The "box" represents our day-to-day predicaments. Conventional wisdom. How things are currently done. That's where most problems start in business.
In today's busy and competitive economic environment, "making the numbers" is more challenging than ever.
So, what can you do to increase your success rate? By looking at employees and customers in a different way.
Look at how your company does business internally. Think of the departments in the company as internal customers to each other. Also, consider the potential of employees.
Start by gathering facts. Look at everything in your company to see what works and what doesn't. Seems overwhelming, right? Then, break the challenges into bite sized pieces.
Get a handle on what drives your business, or departments. Look at opportunities that might present themselves. Constantly ask the question: What are our current goals, how are we doing at achieving them, and how can we improve?
Do your best to maximize your internal and external resources. What does that mean? Look internally first at employees. What talents exist; rather than saying to yourself, "I'm disappointed in Jane or Joe," ask: "What can I do to energize or motivate this person to meet our company goals?" Or, "what can I do to create a team of employees to solve potential challenges of the company"?
Externally, consider how to build better working relationships with clients. One way to do this is to know how client companies "tick." Know them inside and out, so you can help them solve their challenges. This will give you a competitive edge, providing benefits that will keep them as a client for a long time.
Ask for client referrals. This is an excellent method for finding just the type of client you want for your company. Remember, clients will refer qualified people like themselves. If they hesitate, there may be an underlying reason. It's a good way to do some "research."
Ask clients for feedback about your products and services. All of us want others to listen to us. By asking clients, through surveys, focus groups or informal visits, what they think about your company, they know you care and want to serve their needs. This is an excellent way to find out how they see the world, their perspective, and that one great idea that may help your company in the future.
Find out how the client thinks; most businesses are so busy doing daily activities, they don't think about getting into the client's "box." How does the client go about solving problems? What are their challenges and how do they respond to them?
These are "out-of-the-box" techniques you can begin using today in your department or business.
Jan Kantor is a Southwest Florida business consultant and executive coach. For more information, or to contact him regarding workplace solutions, his website is www.jankantor.com.