Nov 10, 2017
Problems happen in any
business. When it comes to small businesses, about two-thirds of
them actually survive 2 years, half of them survive 5 years, and
only one-third survives 10, according to data provided by Fundera website. The
statistics for large businesses is probably as saddening as this
The problems are what causes businesses to fail. At the same time, fearing problems is not the way out. Instead, business owners need to learn from them as well as learn how to solve them.
The challenge lies in how do you solve them. There are plenty of
people, who start brainstorming all the possible
solutions - and do it until it’s too late. While brainstorming
can work for many, it needs to be followed by actions in order to
deliver the result.
But if you were told that it’s possible to find a quick and effective solution using a certain methodology, would you prefer it to brainstorming?
If the answer is «yes», you should try cause and effect analysis, also known as a Fishbone Diagram.
In order to find a solution to a certain problem, you need to
analyze it thoroughly, identifying all the causes that led to a
certain situation and trying to build a solution for each of the
cause and for the problem in general.
Using a diagram not only requires you to come up with a list of these causes - it also helps you to visualize the situation better, seeing it as a whole and noticing all the weak spots. It also allows breaking big problems into smaller ones, solving them bit by bit. On top of that, it enables creative thinking, which is a great skill to build and strengthen.
What is the problem you’re facing? Identify it in details, not
only briefly describing the problem but also outlining the
situation in general, possible reasons and consequences,
departments or employees who are either responsible for the problem
or for its solution.
You might be facing a couple of problems at the moment. If these problems are a part of a bigger one, describe this biggest problem. If they aren’t, use a different diagram for each problem.
Once a problem is defined, place it in the «head» of a Fishbone Diagram.
Now it’s time to add some «bones» to the «head». Ask yourself or
(and) your team, what exactly did cause this problem to appear?
Maybe it’s the people that did something wrong. Maybe your business
processes didn’t go well. Maybe you received a bad supply or
experienced a malfunctioning of a sort. Maybe it’s the finances.
Find all the reasons that can be there, but be sure to focus on the main ones only. Once you do so, add them to your Fishbone Diagram.
Now when you have the main causes of the problem, you probably
can divide them into smaller ones (assuming you aimed for the big
reasons from the start). Why did each of the causes happen in the
For example, you produce something - and your last products didn’t sell well enough. One of the causes is a poor promotion. You can come up with the following sub-causes for this case:
and so on.
Or you can come up with the totally different sub-causes. But once you do, add them to your Fishbone Diagram like shown below:
Now you have the whole picture ahead of you. If you did
everything right, you also see it in details, easily spotting all
the possible causes of the problem you’re facing.
You might feel uneasy seeing so many causes, but it’s a good thing. When it comes to business, small or large one, there’s rarely only one cause behind the problem.
After a Fishbone Diagram is complete, analyze it thoroughly. Pay attention to each cause, identifying the main ones and the less important ones. Take some time, considering the options you have - and then come up with a solution plan. This plan should include ways to eliminate all the causes behind the problem as well as ways to prevent them in the future.
Hopefully, this diagram will help you effectively find the solutions to all the problems your business might face and to react to them quickly, eliminating these problems.
About The Author:
Lori Wade is the content writer and a career specialist for college students. She is a content marketer, sharing experience on writing, education, and self-development in her publications, for example, https://eliteessaywriters.com/blog/cause-and-effect-essay-topics/. Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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