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When Sh*t Goes Wrong: 3 Problem Solving Questions For CEOs (w/ Anthony Mink)

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

– Mike Tyson

Anthony Mink knows how to take a punch.

This is a skill you need to learn if you want to stay in business as long as we have. It doesn’t matter how good your plans are — shit can always go wrong.

At a recent Smart Marketer event, Anthony Mink (CEO of 8-figure brand Live Bearded) took a break from tactics and traffic to talk about how to improve your problem solving skills in business.

In this clip from that session, he gives you 3 questions every CEO should ask themselves before and after things go terribly wrong.

Anthony’s 3 questions are:

  1. What don’t I see that can hurt me?
  2. Where am I vulnerable?
  3. What should have happened that didn’t?


Losers React, Winners Anticipate.

In business, you’re going to take a lot of punches. It’s best to accept that right now.

But how you prepare for adversity — and what you do when your brilliant plan blows up in your face — that is where you can make a positive difference as CEO:

“I actually believe that anticipation is [probably] one of the most valuable skills that any business owner can have.

And I do believe it’s a skill because anticipation comes from, again, asking the right questions. It comes from thinking about the road ahead, thinking about what obstacles might come up, and how you’ll handle that obstacle.”

“What Don’t I See That Can Hurt Me?”

The first question Anthony asks is intended to help identify any current problems that you may not realize are threats.

These answers will be different for everyone depending on your particular business and niche:

“What don’t I see that can hurt me?”

“Well, I’m over reliant on one traffic source; I’ve got one manufacturer; I’m getting my products from China, and there’s this COVID… If we actually sat down and said, ‘What don’t I see that can hurt me?’ then you can start to anticipate those challenges and create a plan for when some of those challenges arise.

But this question isn’t just useful to prepare for when things go wrong. You can also reverse it to help you identify hidden opportunities and resources you didn’t realize you had:

“What don’t I see that can help me?

“There’s a lot of things that you can do to find ways to add more value, ways to grow and improve your business just by really understanding what don’t you see.”

In my experience, you always have more resources at your disposal than you realize — if you’re willing to see them.

This may be as simple as moving up an employee from customer support to social media or, in my case, using the success of one business to launch two others.

“What Are My Business Vulnerabilities?”

This second question is designed to prevent future problems before they happen by limiting your exposure to risk.
Well, as best you can anyway:

“[Again] where am I overleveraged? Where am I dependent on one traffic source, one manufacturer, one key employee?

There’s so many different vulnerabilities that we have in business, and we all have them, right? But getting clear on what they are and putting a plan in place to turn that vulnerability into a strength is going to help you become more strategic and ultimately make your business better.”

This is so important for CEOs.

When you take inventory of the weakest areas in your business, you’re not just limiting risk…

The redundant processes you put in place to add new sources of traffic and new employees are also keys that can unlock your next level of scale.

Is your business vulnerable? Find out how to diversify your traffic sources and grow your team in these two posts: Learn How to Hire & Train Employees and 4 Steps to Scaling Your Facebook Ads onto YouTube.

“What Should Have Happened That Didn’t?”

Okay, but what happens after you get punched in the face?

Anthony said it at the beginning: “Shit is always going to go wrong.” Even if you could identify all the threats and improve all the weaknesses, you’re still going to get knocked down by problems you could have never seen coming.

The important thing to do then is try to prevent it from happening again. To do that you need to isolate the cause:

“When chaos hits… one of the things that we ask ourselves is… ‘What happened that shouldn’t have happened?’ or ‘What should have happened that didn’t?’

The key here is to keep it simple… I think, in business, complexity is the enemy of execution. And the more complex things are, the more difficult they are, the harder it is for us to actually implement them and execute them.”


I challenge you to sit down once or twice a month and ask yourself these questions.

As I talk about in this podcast episode, your job as CEO is to navigate for the business. These questions can help you see the big picture and discover new opportunities you didn’t realize were there:

“You get paid to solve problems for your customers. You get rich as a business owner by solving problems for your business — by anticipating the road ahead.

And I think the most important thing that you can have is not the right answer. You know, having the right answer is smart, but having the right question, that’s genius. The more that you can ask the right question the more clarity you can get on your business, and ultimately the more success that you’re going to have.”

Don’t wait for the next disaster to happen.

Start anticipating and preventing problems now, so when something does happen you have a plan to recover quickly.

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