So far, you’ve figured out why you want to start a business, what type of business to start, and the need to make your product both better and different than what’s already out there. Simultaneously, you need to figure out how to make your product matter.
You do that by solving a problem.
Sometimes you can create the problem by simply giving it a name – remember “ring around the collar”? Other times you need to see what people are struggling with. Or what you are struggling with.
Story time: Before I launched BURN energy drink, I had a sports drink mix called ProLyte. Formulated specifically for endurance athletes, it was the first to add caffeine and remove citric acid. Why? Because cyclists were using flat, watered down Coke or Mountain Dew, or diluted Gatorade. They wanted caffeine and sugar, but couldn’t stomach the tart, overly acidic commercial sports drinks when operating at race pace. Your palate becomes more sensitive during intense exercise. So, I solved both problems by making a mild, lightly caffeinated sports drink mix that also had the right carbs and electrolytes. It didn’t even taste so good, but it sold well because it filled a need.
Solving a Problem is a Good Start
What problem will you solve? What void will you fill for them? Is that void big enough that they will give you their money or time? Does it matter enough to them? If it’s merely an inconvenience and not a real pain point, they might have bigger holes they want to fill first. What’s the biggest hole you can fill?
To solve problems, you have to know your customer.
Maybe that customer is you. I’ve found that solving my own pain points is often a good starting point. None of us are as special and individual as we think…if it’s a problem for me, chances are there’s at least another 100,000 people out there with the same problem.
Once you know who you’re selling to and what you’re selling them, then it’s time to make sure your solution isn’t just better than competing options, but also different enough to matter.
Solving the RIGHT Problem Blows Minds
Following ProLyte, we launched an energy drink called BURN. Technically speaking, it was a better product, but not in any way that mattered to our core audience.
And that was a big part of our problem. We didn’t really know who our core audience was, or why they were buying energy drinks. We wanted them to be athletes. In reality, they were high school kids and day laborers. We were selling BURN on quality and effectiveness. No one cared. That didn’t solve their problem. Red Bull’s audacious stunts and million dollar sponsorships made people care about that product because they wanted to be like those people. It solved the perceived problem of a boring life by offering the promise of Wings to fly them beyond the ordinary everyday experience.
Perhaps your solution solves the problem of price (as in, things are too expensive). Conversely, you could make something so over the top and expensive that it solves the problem of exclusivity. Some people care about that and will pay a premium for it. It could be a service that gives people back their time, or does something they don’t want to do. Or allows them to do something they otherwise couldn’t. Or just makes them think your solution is the only way they could do it. Solving the problem in a way that matters creates an emotional connection that helps you sell even if logic dictates otherwise.
If you’re not solving the right problem, real or perceived, in the right way, then who cares?
If you really wanna do it right, your solution should blow minds.
Ready to start solving problems? Download this free worksheet to help you identify the problems (aka Opportunities) that you could launch a business to solve.