How to redefine challenges with business collaboration

November 08, 2019

Collaborating with other businesses can help business owners find solutions to what seems like never-ending challenges.

 

You own a business, and a minor financial problem has led to a mix-up with a supplier. While you’re dealing with that mix-up, something happens with your IT infrastructure. Pretty soon, you feel like you're engaged in a never-ending game of Whac-A-Mole. Collaborating with other businesses can change that.

Kris Terp, CEO of 1 Micro LLC, meets with a network of small business CEOs each month to discuss their individual challenges and consider a variety of perspectives. By seeking to redefine their problems and by collaborating with other businesses in different industries, they often discover surprising and lasting solutions to their business challenges. These following dynamic approaches to problem solving have helped Terp and his colleagues improve their business operations.

 

Redefine the problem

When a challenge presents itself, it’s almost instinctual to want to find an immediate solution. The quickest solution, however, isn’t always the best solution. Sometimes how you ask the question and define the problem is more important than finding an answer right away.

This might sound counterintuitive, but think about it this way: The more ways you can frame the problem, the more likely it is you can come up with a truly effective and long-lasting solution. If you look at an issue from a several perspectives, you may discover new opportunities or more fundamental solutions.

Take time to brainstorm with others. Ask questions, such as:

  • What is our problem? Remember, this isn’t a search for a solution; it’s a search for a definition.
  • How else can we look at this issue? Take time to free associate and look for connections you did not see before. A supply issue, for instance, may actually stem from an employee satisfaction issue.
  • What can we learn from this problem that might apply to other areas of our business? Cross-learning can benefit other areas of your business. Oftentimes, you can cross-learn from working with other business owners.

 

Business collaboration can be the key

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network for help. Even if you know someone in a completely different industry, he or she may be able to provide fresh insights that will help you better understand the issue you are facing.

Another benefit of business collaboration is that the input and experience of your peers will take you outside of your comfort zone and change how you see things.

Even if you own a welding company, for example, you may get great insights from the owner of a graphic design firm. Likewise, the CEO of a midsized consulting firm may benefit from bouncing ideas off a restaurant owner.

 

Continue reading and learn about how to successfully manage your business.

Learn about U.S. Bank

Related content

Military homeownership: Your guide to resources, financing and more

For today's homebuyers, time and money are everything

Crypto + Homebuying: Impacts on the real estate market

Employee benefit plan management: Trustee vs. custodian

Choosing your M&A escrow partner

Integrated receivables management solution supports customer focus at MSC Industrial Supply

High-yield bond issuance: 5 traits lawyers should look for in a service provider

Addressing financial uncertainty in international business

Insource or outsource? 10 considerations

Money management guide to financial independence

ABCs of APIs: Drive treasury efficiency with real-time connectivity

Give a prepaid rewards card for employee recognition

How to reward employees and teams who perform well

5 steps for creating an employee recognition program

How jumbo loans can help home buyers and your builder business

4 ways to make practical use of real-time payments

For today's relocating home buyers, time and money are everything

Crypto + Relo: Mobility industry impacts

Evaluating interest rate risk creating risk management strategy

Webinar: Mindset Matters: How to practice mindful spending

Webinar: ESG for Corporations: Building an all-weather, long-lasting strategy

How emerging banking solutions enable better decisions

High-cost housing and down payment options in relocation

Empowering managers with data automation and integration

Administrator accountability: 5 questions to evaluate outsourcing risks

Easier onboarding: What to look for in an administrator

Common pitfalls to avoid in the equipment financing process

In a digital world, Liberty Puzzles embraces true connection

The secret to successful service provider integration

3 tips to maintain flexibility in supply chain management

Complying with changes in fund regulations

Colleges respond to student needs by offering digital payments

Want AP automation to pay both businesses and consumers?

Zelle® for business makes faster payments to realtors at Sunriver Resort

Automate accounts payable to optimize revenue and payments

Artificial intelligence in finance: Defining the terms

The cyber insurance question: Additional protection beyond prevention

Adjust collections to limit impact of USPS delivery changes

How running a business that aligns with core values is paying off

Meet the Milwaukee businessman behind Funky Fresh Spring Rolls

Take the stress out of buying your teen a car

I own two electric vehicles. Here’s what I’ve learned about buying and driving EVs.

Car shopping Buying versus leasing your next vehicle

Questions to ask before buying a car

What you should know about buying a car

How electronic billing platforms improve government payments

How I did it: Turned my side hustle into a full-time job

How to get started creating your business plan

Talent acquisition 101: Building a small business dream team

Make your business legit

7 tips to help grow your business after launch

How to test new business ideas

Opening a business on a budget during COVID-19

Costs to consider when starting a business

How to establish your business credit score

How to redefine challenges with business collaboration

How to sell your business without emotions getting in the way

Empowering team members

5 steps to take before transitioning your business

10 tips on how to run a successful family business

The role of ethics in the hiring process

8 ways to increase employee engagement

The costs of hiring a new employee

How to hire employees: Employee referral vs. external hiring

How to expand your business: Does a new location make sense?

Gift cards can extend ROI into 2022

What you should know about licensing agreements

3 simple brand awareness tips for your business

How a small business owner is making the workplace work for women

The growing importance of a strong corporate culture

Meet your business credit card support team

Business credit card 101

5 tips for managing your business cash flow

How to apply for a business credit card

Prioritizing payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic

8 Ways for small business owners to manage their cash flow

How to accept credit cards online

Break free from cash flow management constraints

Improve online presence your business

Use this one simple email marketing tip to increase your reach

How a travel clothing retailer is staying true to its brand values

How community gave life to lifestyle boutique Les Sol

How Shampoo’ed is transforming hair and inspiring entrepreneurs

The San Francisco bridal shop that’s been making memories for 30 years

How Al’s Breakfast is bringing people together

Celebrity Cake Studio’s two decades of growth and success

How a group fitness studio made the most of online workouts

How Wenonah Canoe is making a boom in business last

How a bar trivia company went digital during COVID-19

How to build a content team

3 ways to gain loyalty with your customers

How (and why) to get your business supplier diversity certification

Ease your transition to remote banking

Finance or operating lease? Deciphering the legalese of equipment finance

Buying or leasing? Questions to ask before signing a contract

4 questions you should ask about your custodian

Tactical Treasury: Fraud prevention is a never-ending task

Time is money: Intelligent Payment Routing saves businesses both

Digital trends poised to reshape hotel payments

Three healthcare payment trends that will continue to matter in 2022

Digital banking for business: How connectivity improves customer experience

Safeguarding the payment experience through contactless

How AI in treasury management is transforming finance

Automate escheatment for accounts payable to save time and money

The benefits of payment digitization: Pushing for simplicity

Collect utility and telecom bill payments faster

What corporate treasurers need to know about Virtual Account Management

Treasury management innovations earn Model Bank awards

Webinar: Reviving mobility, what to expect

Tailor Ridge eBill case study

Webinar: DEI tips for transforming your mobility program

ABCs of ARP: Answers to American Rescue Plan questions for counties

Why retail merchandise returns will be a differentiator in 2022

Omnichannel retail: 4 best practices for navigating the new normal

The client-focused mindset: How to network effectively

Is your restaurant Google-friendly?

The AI journey in finance: How to make it part of your strategy

Business risk management for owners of small companies

Refining your search for an insurance custodian

Preparing for your custodian conversion

Business tips and advice for Black entrepreneurs

Banking connectivity: Helping businesses deliver the easier, faster, more secure customer experience of the future

Should you buy a house that’s still under construction?

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Webinar: AP automation for commercial real estate

Webinar: CSM corporation re-thinks AP

The future of financial leadership: More strategy, fewer spreadsheets

COVID-19 safety recommendations: Are you ready to reopen?

Enhancing liquidity management: 4 benefits of visibility

The client-focused mindset: Adapting to differing personality types

Digital receivables to meet changing demand

Save time with mobile apps for business finances

The client-focused mindset: What do clients expect?

Automated escheatment – learn how to prevent and resolve unclaimed property

Webinar: CRE Digital Transformation – Balancing Digitization with cybersecurity risk

Webinar: CRE technology trends

Webinar: AP automation—solve payment challenges with an invoice-to-pay solution

Webinar: Robotic process automation

Webinar: Building digital bridges for treasury optimization

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.

U.S. Bank is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services or performance of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.