As an employer, business owner, or even consultant, you may need to develop a problem statement to show your problem-solving ability. Aside from the fact that you can describe the issue and offer workable solutions in writing, it gets everyone on the same page.
However, the majority of people are not good at writing effective problem statements. Are you a part of the majority looking for how to write an effective problem statement? Read on as we divulge some interesting details on how to write problem statements effectively with some samples in the subsequent paragraphs.
What is a problem statement?
A problem statement outlines the problems a company is experiencing. It includes the problematic area, the challenge that needs to be overcome, how it affects corporate operations, and potential solutions.
Note: the solution is general and doesn’t go deep into how to implement it. The statement must be impartial, presenting only the relevant facts and omitting personal opinions.
It’s best to ask questions like “what,” “who,” “why,” “when,” and “where” to formulate a productive problem statement. You will find it easier to write the statement, and the problem will also be simpler to comprehend and resolve.
The importance of problem statements
Some of the importance of writing a problem statement is outlined below:
- A problem statement should aid in making thoughtful decisions for projects, unique situations, and even the direction of entire businesses.
- A problem statement lays the basis for future study and development, making it a crucial communication tool. It provides those who have the power to significantly alter the organization’s objective with an in-depth understanding of what is happening.
- A statement of the problem’s main objective is to reduce a general issue to one that can be solved by making thoughtful decisions. Furthermore, it needs to fill in a knowledge gap about the company and outline the effects and financial ramifications of the issue.
- A problem statement is significant because it considers a problem from various perspectives. It outlines who and what the problem affects, where it happens, why it must be solved, and when. This aids the organization in estimating the scope of a problem.
Types of problem statements
Problem statements can be classified as either quantitative or qualitative.
Quantitative research problem statement: Quantitative research problem statements are unbiased inquiries that offer thorough information regarding a research topic. Quantitative research problem statements provide numerical data that can be statistically analyzed.
A Quantitative research problem statement aids in understanding the research problem by examining trends and patterns. Making data-driven and sound decisions can be aided by the data collected.
Statistics are difficult to contest, which increases the reliability of the data. Since quantitative research needs exact data, the information it provides is trustworthy and credible.
Qualitative research problem statement: A qualitative research problem statement focuses on gathering information through communication and open-ended dialogue
This approach considers the “what” and “why” of people’s opinions. Consider a beauty salon that wants to increase customer traffic as an example. A thorough investigation reveals that more men frequent this store than women.
An in-depth conversation with potential customers in the category is a good way to find out why ladies weren’t coming to the salon.
After successfully interviewing the women clients who visit nearby salons and selecting them randomly, it was discovered that the salon doesn’t have proficient stylists for women, which is why fewer women are visiting the salon.
This was discovered only after personally speaking with the women and learning why they didn’t visit the salon.
How to write a problem statement
A problem statement is a communication tool that requires extensive research and clear articulation to explain facts effectively. You can learn how to start and end a good problem statement by using the suggestions below.
Find a gap
To find a gap, you must first determine how things function optimally. For instance, you can describe how a process would operate if there weren’t a problem. In other words, the best-case scenario. So, you can spot a gap between the present situation and the anticipated result. Asking yourself questions like “what,” “why,” “who,” “when,” and “where” will help you quickly pinpoint the issue.
Describe the problem
You can now walk readers through the issue after detailing the ideal circumstance in which a procedure or product best operates. For the public to comprehend the problem, it’s critical to present it as straightforwardly and transparently as possible.
To prevent writing an overly long statement, only provide the necessary details. You can also mention why finding a solution is crucial in this phase. Additionally, you can point out any attempts to fix the problem and why they failed.
Outline the costs of the issue
It’s not always simple to resolve every problem in the workplace, particularly if the expense of fixing them is prohibitive. You must emphasize, nevertheless, the financial costs the business will likely face if the issue is not resolved.
To help the management understand the problem in terms they can comprehend, you can use numbers to illustrate the cost. You could, for instance, compare the costs of solving the problem with the costs of not addressing it and then explain why fixing the problem is the best strategy.
Support your claims
You must be ready to provide evidence to support your claims if you allege that the issue is costing a business money. If not, people might not pay attention to your arguments, which would make your problem statement inapplicable or ineffective. Therefore, conduct in-depth research and offer data from reputable and trustworthy sources.
Provide a solution
After outlining your issue and why the business should address it, put up a solution. Give simple and unambiguous solutions, as you did when stating the issue. Having a solid grasp of the issue can help you propose solutions by first establishing your goals. You can develop several ways to deal with the situation successfully if you have clear aims.
Keep in mind that the solution here isn’t overly detailed. It uses concise terms to communicate the main points. If a solution is accepted or is shortlisted for more consideration, then it can be fleshed out.
Describe why the solution you have in mind is the best.
It’s crucial to explain why your solution is promising after outlining the issue at hand, the significance of resolving it, and various suggested solutions. Remember that most companies want to increase their profits; therefore, it can be a good idea to use a financial justification for your solution. Describe the costs to the company implementing your suggested solution and the potential profits. You can also describe the total effect, citing factors like customer satisfaction and higher worker productivity.
summarize the issue and its resolution
After you’ve covered every aspect of the issue and your suggested solutions, write a summary and your suggested solution in your conclusion. Emphasize the necessity of resolving the issue. After your conclusion, you can cite any sources or data you used.
More Details on How to Write a Problem Statement
The 5W2H (What, Why, where, who, when, how, and how much) strategy is a well-liked approach when formulating a business and a research problem statement. The inquiries must be made, and responses are given while formulating a business problem statement. Each is outlined below:
- What: Exactly what issue needs to be resolved? Include the issue’s underlying cause. Mention any other small-scale issues that are related to the larger ones.
- Why: Why is this an issue? Identify the causes of the issue. Include evidence in the form of numbers and facts to emphasize the issue.
- Where: Where is the problem being experienced? State the location and any other details. Include the goods or services where the issue is observed.
- Who: Whose life is affected by this issue? List the clients, employees, divisions, and companies that are impacted.
- When: When was the issue initially noticed? Discuss the duration. Describe the changes in the problem’s intensity since it was first noticed.
- How: How is the issue identified? Outline the signs of the problem. Discuss the findings you came to during the problem analysis process.
- How much: How frequently is the issue noticed? Mention any trends you discovered while conducting your investigation. Comment on the problem’s frequency, severity, and error rate.
Examples of problem statements
To assist you in writing a good problem statement, consider the following problem statement examples:
Example 1: A problem statement by an agricultural firm
Preserving Perishables to Reduce Losses
To keep its place as one of the top suppliers in the nation, Owen Farms, which provides agricultural products to hundreds of stores across the United States, needs to maintain an efficient supply chain. Due to its limited storage capacity and the fact that most of its products are perishable, the firm unfortunately consistently experiences significant losses.
Additionally, there has been a sharp fall in the market for these products, worsening the preservation issue. The firm loses more than 100 tons of vegetables weekly, valued at roughly $25,000, due to this issue. As a result, the business is losing money and is about to fire some workers to cut costs and stay in business.
To make preserving and shipping perishable commodities easier, the firm should erect more cutting-edge storage facilities in various areas. To boost demand, it should also transition to organic farming.
If these steps are taken, Owen Farms’ marketing efforts will be suitably rewarded. Sales and profits will increase for the firm, making its goal of being the leading provider of agricultural products even more attainable.
Example 2: A problem statement by a manufacturing firm
Installing Conveyor Belts to Improve Production Process
Currently, the company’s productivity has been dwindling. Going forward, it won’t be easy to keep pace with its competitors.
The problem of a manual assembly procedure that is inexpedient reduces the firm’s productivity because some parts must be manually installed, which takes extra time.
This affects this year’s production targets and total profit. As such, the firm is losing money and is about to fall from its top ranking in the market.
To solve this problem, Installing conveyor belts to improve the production process would be a practical approach.
Writing a problem statement for businesses is crucial because it can help identify a situation that needs improvement. Are you finding it difficult to write an effective problem statement? Follow this guide and create the magic. Look at each aspect of the problem statement and write formulate them one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be able to develop solid problem statements to help you tackle a wide range of issues. We hope you find this guide helpful in drafting a problem statement for your business.