In my last post, I helped you brainstorm business ideas by starting with what you have. But even after you’ve picked your idea, you still need one more critical element before you know this business idea can work. In fact, if you don’t have this, you definitely cannot succeed. There’s not a successful business in the world that doesn’t have this one key ingredient.
Are you ready for it?
You need a problem.
You need a problem that you’re solving through your business, that is! The reason we start businesses is to help people. Of course you want to make money, but your business exists to help others. The money is just a natural result of that. I love what Rabbi Daniel Lapin says about this: “When you serve the marketplace, they will give you certificates of appreciation with Presidents’ faces on them.” They give you money! But you’ve got to serve the marketplace for that to happen.
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So what problem are you solving through your business? How are you improving your customers’ lives in some way? Are you decreasing something negative about their lives (like time spent doing taxes) or increasing something positive about their lives (like helping them reach their fitness goals)? Are you helping them have less stress or more joy?
Every business needs to solve a problem, so I want you to identify yours. And don’t get intimidated by the word “problem.” It’s easy to think if you are making hair bows that you aren’t solving a problem, but there are millions of mamas everywhere that need hair bows for their little girls. I didn’t have hair until I was almost three years old, and my mom and dad had to tape bows to my head with scotch tape. (Talk about a problem!)
When you identify the problem you’re solving through your business, you’ll discover critical information for the future of your business. When you identify the problem, then:
- You know your market.
Who has the problem you’re solving? That’s the market your business exists to serve. Voila! Now you know your target market!
- You know your value proposition.
When you know what problem you’re solving, you know what value you’re providing through your business. That is the thing you’re going to charge for. Which brings me to . . .
- You know you can make money.
The problem you’re solving is the thing you’re going to charge for. People are willing to pay to have their problems solved.
- You have a head start on your marketing.
Your marketing will promote the problem you’re solving and value you’re offering.
See? When you identify your problem, you’ll have a lot of the foundational information you need to know if this is a viable business idea! So what problem are you solving? I want you to write it down in your book or notebook. Knowing this will help you make decisions about your business later on.
Now if you’re reading this and you still aren’t sure if the idea you chose is the right business idea, that’s okay. That’s actually totally normal. In my next post, I’ll explain how to choose an idea and go for it, even if you aren’t sure about it.