The Problem-Solver’s Playbook: 8 Questions to Sharpen Your Thinking

The Problem-Solver’s Playbook: 8 Questions to Sharpen Your Thinking

As a founder, your ability to tackle challenges head-on and find innovative solutions can make or break your venture. But how do you ensure that your problem-solving approach is effective and efficient?

Enter the Problem-Solver’s Playbook—an essential guide for startup founders looking to sharpen their thinking and tackle complex issues with confidence. In this Unfolded, we'll explore eight key questions that will help you approach problems from a new perspective, unlock creative solutions, and drive your startup forward.

What is the root cause of the problem?

To solve a problem effectively, you must first understand its root cause. Take a step back and analyze the situation—what are the underlying factors contributing to the problem? By identifying the root cause, you can address the issue at its core and prevent it from recurring in the future.

What are the potential solutions?

Once you've identified the root cause, brainstorm potential solutions. Think outside the box and consider all possibilities, no matter how unconventional they may seem. Collaborate with your team to generate ideas and evaluate each option based on its feasibility and potential impact.

What are the risks and benefits of each solution?

Every solution comes with its own set of risks and benefits. Evaluate each option carefully, weighing the potential outcomes against the potential risks. Consider the short-term and long-term implications of each decision, and choose the solution that offers the best balance of risk and reward.

How will this solution impact your stakeholders?

Consider how each solution will impact your stakeholders—both internally and externally. Will it improve customer satisfaction? Enhance employee morale? Increase shareholder value? By considering the needs and concerns of your stakeholders, you can choose a solution that aligns with your overall business goals.

What resources are required to implement this solution?

Implementing a solution often requires resources—whether it's time, money, or manpower. Evaluate what resources are required to implement each solution and consider whether your startup has the capacity to support it.

What are the potential roadblocks to implementation?

Identify potential roadblocks that could hinder the implementation of your chosen solution. Whether it's regulatory issues, technological limitations, or internal resistance, it's important to anticipate these challenges and develop a plan to overcome them.

How will you measure success?

Define clear metrics for success to track the effectiveness of your chosen solution. Whether it's increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, or enhanced operational efficiency, establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of your decision.

What is your backup plan?

Finally, always have a backup plan. Despite your best efforts, not every solution will yield the desired results. By having a contingency plan in place, you can quickly pivot and adapt to unforeseen challenges, ensuring that your startup remains resilient in the face of adversity.


The Problem-Solver’s Playbook is more than just a tool - it's a mindset. By asking eight crucial questions, you can improve your thinking, tackle problems with confidence and steer your startup towards success. So the next time you're confronted with a challenge, don't just react - strategize, innovate and solve it. Your startup's future relies on it.