The Big Squeeze

SME guide to Problem solving in a fast-changing environment

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often faced with a fast-changing environment that requires them to adapt quickly in order to stay competitive. In order to effectively navigate these changes, SMEs need to develop strong problem-solving skills that allow them to identify, analyse, and solve problems as they arise.

The first step in problem-solving is to identify the problem. This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. Many SMEs are so focused on the immediate symptoms of a problem that they fail to identify the underlying cause. To effectively identify the problem, SMEs should take a step back and look at the bigger picture. For example, if sales are declining, it may be easy to blame a lack of marketing or a poor product, but the problem may be something else entirely.

Once the problem is identified, SMEs should analyse it in order to understand the root cause. This can be done by gathering data, talking to employees and customers, and reviewing internal processes. Once the root cause is understood, SMEs can begin to develop solutions.

When developing solutions, SMEs should consider a variety of options. It is important to not jump to the first solution that comes to mind, as it may not be the best option. SMEs should consider a range of solutions, including those that may not be immediately obvious. They should also consider the potential impact of each solution, as well as the resources required to implement it.

Once solutions have been identified, SMEs should choose the best one and implement it. This may require a change in processes or procedures, so it is important to communicate the change to employees and ensure that they understand how to implement it. SMEs should also measure the effectiveness of the solution and make adjustments as necessary.

SMEs should also be prepared to adapt to changes in their environment. This means being open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It also means being willing to take risks and try new things. This may involve investing in new technology, hiring new employees, or entering new markets.

It is also important for SMEs to be proactive when it comes to problem-solving. This means identifying potential problems before they occur, and taking steps to prevent them. For example, SMEs should conduct regular reviews of their processes and procedures, and make changes as necessary. They should also be aware of changes in their industry and take steps to stay ahead of the curve.

Finally, SMEs should foster a culture of problem-solving within their organisation. This means encouraging employees to identify and report problems, and providing them with the tools and resources they need to solve them. It also means recognising and rewarding employees who are effective problem-solvers.

In conclusion, problem-solving is a critical skill for SMEs in a fast-changing environment. By identifying, analysing, and solving problems, SMEs can stay competitive and adapt to changes in their environment. They should also be proactive, adaptable, and foster a culture of problem-solving within their organisation. By doing so, SMEs can navigate the fast-paced world of business and achieve long-term success.


Rob Boll
Founder & CEO