It always starts with an idea
Many people start off in business because they have a great idea. At least, they think it’s great. In many cases, they are in love with their idea and assume that everyone else will be too. Unfortunately, after putting significant time, effort, and money into starting a business, they too often fail to have success.
The reason is that they miss the most important concept in business. That is, that business is all about solving problems. Regardless of how much you love your idea, it must solve a customer’s problem if they are going to spend money with you.
In my own company, SOFTRITE Technology, the customer’s problem has always been pretty easy to recognize. Clients would tell us about challenges they were having. We’d develop new software for them or implement other computer solutions to help. It was easy to see the relationship between the problem and the solution. In other industries, it’s not always as easy.
There’s always a problem to be solved
You may think this doesn’t apply in your industry. However, it’s always there if you look closely at successful business products and services. Sometimes, however, it may only be a perceived problem. But to the buyer, it’s a problem nonetheless.
A good friend of mine owned a jewelry store most of his life. I remember making this statement to him one time. His reply was that it wasn’t that way in his business. He proceeded to tell me that if someone came in and spent thousands of dollars to purchase a Rolex from him, that it wasn’t to solve a problem.
I disagreed. I proposed that in the case of a Rolex or other expensive jewelry, it may only be a perceived problem. But in the mind of the buyer, it’s a problem nonetheless. It may be the need to impress someone, apologize, or just a big ego. But I assure you, the buyer is always trying to solve a problem.
So how does this fit in with a business idea?
You must make sure that your ideas and solutions address customer problems that are worth solving and do it better than other solutions. Notice that I said “worth” solving. I’ve talked to a lot of clients about computer solutions to problems they had, but the benefit of a new system often wouldn’t justify the cost and effort. No matter how great my solutions were, the customers were not going to spend money on something that wouldn’t make enough difference.
So how do you assure that your products and services solve problems that customers will pay for? I’ll tell you all about it in my next article.
Hi, I’m Denny
I spent most of my career starting and working in my own small businesses, including over 35 years running SOFTRITE Technology. After semi-retiring in 2014, I started to concentrate on mentoring entrepreneurs and those who want to start a business and teaching classes on small businesses for SCORE. more info…