Got 99 Problems, But Can Only Solve One
Often behind the closed doors of one of my business advice meetings, I would meet an ambitious founder with fireworks behind their eyes explaining their latest product or feature. They would be knee-deep in showing me a prototype when I would ask:
“But what problem are you actually solving?”
That’s when the conversation would either hit a deer-in-the-headlights standstill or a laundry list of issues that came to his or her mind.
Though there is some razzle-dazzle behind a sleek prototype, startups truly succeed when the product or service is problem-rooted. But so often, founders skip the actual user need and get lost in the fantasy of the building process. (Trust me, we’ve all been guilty of this at least once in the ideation process.)
But, businesses solve problems.
Having worked with over 300+ entrepreneurs, I have seen a range of ideas. Personal favorites range from cortisol-tracking earwax sampling to recycled consumer packaging from plant waste; those which go on to be the most successful are not the ones solving the bucket list of issues for their customer but alleviating a critical pain point that the buyer would put their hard-earned money to solve.
Even Google, which basically can solve any problem at this point, specially states their purpose is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They know — and build — for the problem they are destined to solve.
Solving all the world’s problems in your business means you are combatting none.
Remember to fall in love with the problem before you court your solution.
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