As long as we live, problems will always arise, and once there are problems, we will seek solutions. Solution seeking presents some of the best business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Businesspersons can always find ways to improve on existing products and services; however, finding problems worth solving is a bit more challenging. According to Thomas Oppong of All Top Start-Ups, one of the first things aspiring business owners need to do is create a product that is a must have as opposed to a nice to have.
Some people spend their time trying to find a big idea to turn into business or jumping on the bandwagon of whatever is hot at the moment. However, instead of chasing ideas or following the status quo, they should focus on solving problems which generally is a much better direction to take. Admittedly, there isn’t a lack of business ideas in the world, but there is a lack of creative solutions to some of the most basic problems that we as consumers face. Consequently, we will take a look at some of the ways to identify the big problems worth solving when starting up your own business.
Methods for Finding the Right Problems
One of the most basic and classic ways of finding a problem to solve is to take a look at the personal challenges you are experiencing at the moment. If you cannot find the solution for a personal challenge or problem, then maybe you need to focus on building a product or offering a service that offers an answer. For example, Nancy Vardalos Ginakes of KINSIGHT LTD had three kids at home and was looking for product that would keep her children close by and safe when the family was out in busy places. She couldn’t find anything and decided to create it herself. From her personal challenge, her business was born. She designed and developed the child safety backpack and harness which was an instant hit. Also, when Daniel Fine’s brother Jake was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile diabetes determining the appropriate amount of insulin dosage in his daily diet was difficult. However, Fine used his skills in healthcare to help solve this problem. He and Jake cofounded a company dedicated to helping patients manage, track, and determine the suitable levels of insulin found in their daily dietary intake. Therefore, these examples and many others prove that finding answers to personal problems can translate into lucrative market opportunities.
Reframe Existing Problems
Reframing the way you think about an existing problem can provide valuable insights into possible ways to start your business. A number of companies have changed the way they originally intended to do business for new approaches. Because of their willingness to change their course or reframe the way they were looking at the problem, entirely new business ventures were the results. Classic examples include Uber and Foodpanda. Garrett Camp, founder of Uber, had the idea to fix the taxi problem in San Francisco. By January 2010, he and his cofounder had three cars cruising the streets of San Francisco. They however received a cease and desist order from the Transit Commission of San Francisco because they were operating like a taxi company. Consequently, to find a way around the order and to continue operations, they changed their business model to one where anyone can sign to their system and start making money using their own vehicles. Therefore, instead of crumbling under the pressure of their misfortune, they used the circumstance as an opportunity.
Listening to Other People
Listening to others’ problems and frustrations can be an excellent tool for finding problems worth tackling. In many cases, businesses have been founded by overhearing other people’s complaints then creating the necessary product or service to help ease their frustration. Take Google for example. Google was started in 1995 as a research project. Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to take the world’s information and make it more accessible. Their solution was Google, one of the most lucrative companies in the world, and one that plays an integral role in the lives of a vast number of individuals. However, entrepreneurs need to be aware that not every problem people face may be a potential business opportunity. You may hear someone complain and believe that you can create a product that will ease their frustration, but you should err on the side of caution before diving in headfirst since it is imperative that aspiring entrepreneurs determine whether or not people are willing to pay for their solution.
In conclusion, you may have found a problem that you can solve and convert that solution into a viable business. However, before you do anything you need to understand the problem. It is important to understand the problem and by extension your market to ensure that the persons who are seeking solutions are willing to pay for your method of resolution.
To reiterate, you can find business ideas everywhere. Just take a walk down the street, speak to people, and the problem that you may be capable of finding a solution for, may present itself. Generally, in today’s business world, ideas aren’t in short supply; however, the unfortunate situation we face is the lack of creative solutions to problems that consumers currently contend with. Therefore, don’t just chase business ideas but attempt to solve problems, and it is quite likely that you may be able to build a more successful and sustainable business.