What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?

The other day, I met a young entrepreneur who is just starting his company with a product that he has a great passion for and thinks will perform very well in the market.

He was telling me all about how great it was, how he already had a sales channel set up through a friend, so on and so on….

I listened very enthusiastically, then asked a couple of questions:

  • Have you spoken with any potential customers?
  • Do you understand the issues they have?
  • What problem are you trying to solve?

He just looked at me. Silence. Then, “No, but that’s a good idea.” I suggested he meet with a few potential customers, get some feedback and see where that takes him.

It doesn’t matter if you are a startup, a small company or a Fortune 500 organization – if you are launching a new product or service, you need to make sure you understand what customer problem you are trying to solve.

You don’t have to necessarily do an intense amount of customer research or surveys. In fact, doing too much of this could restrict your ability to innovate as customers do not always know what they want – they just know they have a problem.

Your objective is not to find out what the customers want, but to understand the customer’s problem. Your job is then to solve that problem with a product or service that provides a useful value proposition to the customer.

It all starts with understanding the problem. Do you understand your customer’s problem?