I was listening to some old school rap the other day, and I bet you can guess what came on…

Da Na Na Na Na Na Na

Da Na Na Na Na Na Na

Yo VIP, let’s kick it!

Ice, ice baby

Ice, ice baby

Jamming along, I actually listened to the lyrics and had a laugh when “if there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it” came ringing through, because I knew I was writing this blog post today.

Sometimes Vanilla Ice really saves the day. 

But in all seriousness, today, we’re tackling Trait #3 in Entrepreneurial Leap by Gino Wickman – Problem Solver, and whatever you call yourself – entrepreneur, solopreneur, business owner, CEO… – one thing is certain: you will become familiar with problems and the need to solve them. 

In fact, the very nature of business is unpredictable, and roadblocks are constantly going to pop up. All you have to do is look around you to see how much the world has changed in the last 18 months. There will always be something, a global pandemic, a shortage in the supply chain, fluctuations in the market, or a small, unexpected obstacle that comes out of nowhere, and you have to be willing and able to adapt with a creative solution.

Entrepreneurs are by definition problem solvers. They see an issue that needs solving and build a solution to fix it. That’s how thousands of businesses get started every year. They also dig in and implement processes, systems, and solutions that reduce inefficiency and/or remove obstacles that are preventing the business from reaching its operational and strategic goals.

But problem solving is more than finding solutions. It’s a mindset. A willingness to roll your sleeves up, get your hands dirty, and troubleshoot.

In every business I’ve had, I’ve had to tackle tough problems, whether that was why a cupcake kept sinking in the middle to how to get a payment processor to play nice in WordPress to larger issues of how to find and attract perfect clients to my business and uniquely address their needs. There’s always something.

Yes, mechanics are often involved. But it starts with a recognition that there’s a problem and being willing to dig in. One of my favorite phrases is “the answer to HOW is YES.” This speaks to the very heart of being a problem solver. 

A problem solver, as Wickman says, “is someone who leans into problems, obsesses about them, and genuinely gets a high from solving them.” I know this is true for me, whether it’s doing it for my own business or helping a client dig in until they see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

As the owner of your business – or someone who’s seriously thinking about starting a business – you have to want to solve problems. The world is full of VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity – and no matter how great your original vision is, how strong your business plan looks, there will always be adjustments, bumps in the road, and things you’ll have to adapt to.

If you can’t see what’s broken and fix it, your days of business ownership are over. Mike Tyson said it best. “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Entrepreneurs who are willing to problem solve can roll with the punches, get back up when they fall down, and figure out a new plan of attack. 

But that starts with a willingness to stand in the ring and face the situation head on. 

Are you a problem-solver?

P.S. Curious where you fall on the spectrum for this trait and 5 others? Take the Entrepreneurial Assessment.