From the Idea to the First Customer: Solving a Problem

We discussed in the first article of this series why it is important to choose a targeted audience and how to find the right group. It was also important to identify your audience and understand their needs.

Next, find a problem you can solve.

Navigate the Journey

Part One: Choosing an Audience
Part 2: Finding the Problem to Solve
Part 3: Selling it Before You Make It
Fourth Part: Creating a Product
Part Five: Choosing an Operating System
Part Six: Getting your Product to Your Customer
Part Seven: Happy Customers

You don’t yet have a product to sell, but you have a defined market and you know your audience needs. This is a great place to be: it sets your business up for success. Everyone has problems. Lots of them! And if you can solve one of those problems, people will pay you for the solution. That’s what people do.

Dishwashers are bought by people to cut down on the time it takes to wash dishes. Velcro sandals are easier to use than a buckle. Netflix is a service that allows them to view movies at home. LED bulbs are more durable than regular bulbs, even though they may be more expensive upfront.

All of these purchases have little to do with the price. In each case, the first consideration is the solution to the problem.

Different types of problems that can be solved

Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems people face:

  • They have physical needs which correlate with their emotional fulfillment.
  • The psychological needs that prevent people from realizing their dreams and achieving their goals are: they are frustrated, uninspired or lacking motivation.
  • Cognitive Needs that keep people behind or prevent them from engaging with others — they lack insight, knowledge, or perspective.
  • They are unable to use equipment that they depend on because they have missing parts or pieces
  • Relational Needs that enhance their connection with another person. They can’t find the perfect gift.
  • They need to manage their time that prevents them from growing financially and professionally.
  • Loneliness – They’re looking to make friends or find life partners.

These are all personal and not transactional. These affect how people feel.

This is true for both individuals and businesses. B2B does not require a different approach when developing products. There are emotions that business owners feel, and they often revolve around time management and achieving more profitable results.

Let’s suppose you select middle-aged mothers with children aged 5-15 years. What are their problems?

Many mothers want to get their children involved in meaningful activities. What activities could you suggest? You could offer them a craft or game, or something inside your home. You can also get equipment, courses, and team sports training.

Many people are looking for better ways of managing their responsibilities. What can you do to help them manage their time better Maybe an app that helps them track their to-do list, budget and pay bills faster. You can also sell time management courses and life coaching sessions.

They also desire reliable appliances and cars that are easy to use and won’t fail every two years. They want to be healthy. They want to be ready for retirement. This narrow group has many problems to solve.

Katie Thomson realized the need to start her own business after becoming a mother in 2008. “I became a mother in 2008, and as I walked down the aisle looking for food options, I was overwhelmed by the variety of choices I saw. Did you know that many baby food pouches contain the same amount of sugar as Lucky Charms? You are so smart. Blown. I didn’t want So. Much. She spoke of Applesauce in an interview with WooCommerce.

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She created Square Baby to solve this problem. This customizable meal-plan company provides 100% of babies’ daily nutritional value with very little sugar.

Learn more:

Choose a problem you want to solve

After you have analyzed all the issues your audience faces, it’s likely that you will be looking at quite a large list. Don’t stop there! Make sure to spend time with your audience to share what you have discovered and to get more ideas. You can then choose one problem to solve, based on its potential impact. Let’s take a closer look at each step:

1. Ask your audience

Talking to people is the best thing. It’s difficult to think up solutions for people you don’t know or have never spoken to.

Discuss the issues with your audience. Notes are a good idea. Listen to what they have to say and be open to changing your mind about what you thought you needed. Keep curious.

It is important to pay attention to what they think and feel. They may be unaware of new problems.

These are just a few of the ways that you can interact with your audience.

  • Use quizzes online and in-person.
  • In-person meetings at festivals, trade shows, and networking events.
  • Ask other business owners to discuss the problems their customers face.
  • You can find discussion boards and comment sections on the websites of your audience. Find out what people are talking about, what frustrates, and why they love or dislike a company or product.
  • You can read reviews of books that relate to the problem you are solving. Find great insight and information about your audience to help you make better decisions. You can do the same thing with Yelp or other industry websites.

2. Optimize for Impact

Find the solutions that will have the greatest impact on your audience. It will be easier to give someone a solution if the problem is larger and more complex.

This isn’t a scientific method of elimination. There’s an art to it. This is where you should trust your intuitions. You will find the best ideas in places you don’t expect.

You must also be interested in the solution that you offer. A person who doesn’t like social media shouldn’t start a company helping other people improve their social media marketing. It is helpful to feel passionate about what you are selling. It’s important to believe in your products.

Follow their example

Follow the lead of your audience. Now it is time to identify the root problems that negatively affect them and start to look for solutions.

There’s one more step before you can start creating your product. This step is often skipped over more than any other seven in this series. It’s a great way to increase your chances of success.