How to trick your mind into solving business challenges — Lionesses of Africa

by Zodidi Gaseb

I had just moved into my new manufacturing site when Covid 19 hit. We were suddenly plummeted into lockdown and reality struck. Businesses were forced to shut down, strategize and make ends meet in one of the most challenging phases the modern world has ever known. I had to let my team go, we tried minimizing work as sales were not met, but the shift in consumer priorities forced me to evaluate my own priorities.

Entrepreneurship comes along with a lot of responsibilities and risks. Commonly seen as an innovator, a designer of new ideas and business processes, entrepreneurs are faced with various challenges. In a journey fraught with challenges on a day-to-day basis, how does one embrace success? A lot of the responsibility for this lies on the shoulders of the entrepreneur and their approach to problems and challenges. What’s important isn’t how many challenges you face, but instead how you address them.

No problem is too much for an entrepreneur to solve. It can always be fixed, overturned, circumvented, or avoided altogether through changes. The most successful entrepreneurs don’t accept defeat; they keep moving and changing. Part of being a great problem solver is knowing how to evaluate each situation and look at outcomes on a holistic level, analyzing how your solutions will affect you or your business in the long term. 

Every entrepreneur has their own unique style, but some problem-solving approaches are inherently more effective than others. Problem-solving skills are extremely important in life and more so in business. Regardless of your profession, industry, or lifestyle, solving problems is part of everyday life. The entrepreneurial journey is riddled with ups and downs and the ability to solve problems can give you and your business the edge it needs.

Here are some problem-solving skills entrepreneurs should master: 

Critical Thinking

Most of us tend to make decisions in a hurry when faced with a problem. We simply execute the first idea that comes into our minds without taking the time to think about the issue in detail. Critical thinking is the process of taking your time to digest the issue at hand, logically before making a judgment. Using this skill, you will analyse all the factors that are related to the problem and come up with a suitable and satisfactory conclusion. This problem-solving skill is especially important in business when making decisions related to finances, legal issues, and employees. Being able to apply critical thinking is central to success in life and in business.

Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is the ability to think outside the box when solving problems. Applying 3-dimensional thinking is a skill that allows you to see things from different angles and thus solve problems the same way. Asking yourself several questions about the issue before making a decision and making solid conclusions that lead to good solutions is imperative to this process. Creativity entails allowing your mind to wander and dig deep into the problems at hand, going beyond the surface and using your critical thinking problem-solving skills to analyze each issue.


Having initiative is central to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Not only is it important in terms of customer acquisition, but it also helps when you have to solve a problem. Proactive entrepreneurs are always looking for new ways to do things, to communicate with their team and to improve their product or service, inadvertently reducing the risk of having problems in the future. The initiative of an entrepreneur is developed over time, and it shows that you are passionate about your product and determined to succeed; qualities that investors love to see. Any good problem-solver knows how to research, find similarities between themselves and others and use their initiative to seek out good solutions to problems and part of being a good problem-solver is your ability to keep going regardless of how many times you fail.


Persistence, determination, or perseverance is a key trait of successful people. As we had mentioned, problems come in different ways, some are technical, and some are financial. In most cases, the more complex the problem, the more critical thinking and persistence is required. Persistence is an important problem-solving skill that is often misunderstood by a lot of people. Being persistent does not necessarily mean doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. To me personally, it means remembering why you started in the first place and evaluating if you are still on track with your vision. 


The only constant is change and it can be such an uncomfortable thing to adapt to, but as an entrepreneur, flexibility or adaptability opens you up to new opportunities. You should be able to change your mind to suit different situations or circumstances. Being stuck in your ways keeps your business stuck and you can’t afford to make that mistake over and over again. When trying to solve a problem, not all the solutions that you try out will work. Some can backfire and leave you quite frustrated. By being flexible, you will be able to apply different solutions to solve an issue. This is far much better than sticking to a single solution that is not yielding any fruits. A flexible person is also open to receiving suggestions from other people who may be experts in solving similar problems. 


Finally, when it comes to solving problems, you need to be focused and disciplined. Regardless of how good you are at solving different problems, your efforts may not bear any fruits if you don’t have self-discipline. This is the ability to control yourself and remain focused on finding the solutions to the problem. I remember the first year of business, I hadn’t practiced self-control and paid dearly for it in a few months. It’s important to know your weaknesses and set systems in place that counter them in a conducive manner. 

Constantly evaluating situations and thinking critically about them require a certain level of discipline which you must have to become successful. By being self-disciplined, you will be able to remain on the right path without being distracted by any external factors or being able to bounce back from a risky decision. This skill will also help you to be fully committed to finding the best solutions each time.

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