Thinking of starting a business? Do you have an idea that you think would sell really well? Well, before you answer that question, I invite you to think a little bit, not about what you enjoy doing, or how great you think your idea is. Instead I want you to start thinking about the problem you hope to solve.
Afterall, businesses provide solutions to problems, whether that’s a service or product, customers buy because it solves a problem for them. You buy water because you’re thirsty, you hire an accountant because you need tax advice and you buy expensive clothes because you care about your image.
All these things solve a need or want, no matter how superficial that may be. Understanding your potential customer’s needs on a psychological level is therefore very important. Just as important is to identify the problem your potential customer has.
This process is called IDEATION and it’s an important first step which often gets overlooked!
By identifying a problem, ideally one you experienced yourself, and then identifying a customer base who experience this problem you have the 2 missing pieces of a 3 piece puzzle.
You see, the solution, or your idea, is actually the least important step. Once you identify a problem and figure out who experiences it then your solution can change and adapt to meet your customer’s needs.
This makes things workable as you are not striving to release the perfect product and as a result you can focus on CORE FEATURES first. All the while you can give your customers the chance to try it out while giving you VITAL feedback. This allows you to improve your product or service quickly. This removes the guesswork and speeds up your development.
This, by the way, is how you build an MVP (minimum viable product) and can be applied to any type of business. Whether you are launching a new clothing line, a podcast, or a new app… Implementing parts of your solution in stages by starting with the core features first gives you the freedom to adapt and change quickly, so you can focus on the important parts – marketing and sales.
So before you start your business or new venture, ask yourself these 7 questions:
- What problem am I solving? – Can you describe it in 2 sentences or less?
- Who experiences this problem? – Be specific, why do they experience it? Where do you they experience it? How do they experience it?
- Have I experienced this problem myself? – How did you feel? What caused the problem and did you ever fix it? How?
- How frequent is this problem? – Ideally, you want a problem people experience often, also don’t be afraid to rethink who your customers might actually be. I.e. Real estate websites are built for realtors (who always need to sell more real estate) and not the buyers (who make this purchase once or twice in their lifetime).
- How intense is this problem? – Can your customers live with it or are they desperate for a solution? Ideally you want them to be desperate.
- Does my solution fix this problem? – Be really honest with yourself. Not asking this question (or pretending it does) won’t magically make your solution more viable. Far from it, you’re likely to waste a lot of time and money before you face reality.
- Are people willing to pay for it? – The crucial question, again be honest here because understanding this question will dictate so much of how you will approach your potential clients. Also, do some research and see what others are charging.
So what problem are you solving? Let me know in the comments!