Solving a problem puts value creation first.
Who’s it for?
What problem does it solve?
Would we miss it if you didn’t build it?
At the beginning of the web, companies grew by focusing on the problems that their users had.
As a result, people found a partner, a place to chat, a way to buy a book they’d been searching for, and yes, a chance to sell their Beanie Baby collection. They listed jobs and found them, sent messages around the world and looked up information they needed. There wasn’t always a business model, but the successful startups got successful because they were relentlessly focusing on solving a problem for the customer.
If it was hard to explain why someone needed what you were doing, you had a real problem.
This was the single best use of the venture money that flowed into the web twenty-five years ago. Patient investors said, “solve a customer problem well enough and the profit will take care of itself.”
In just a few decades, a lot of the straightforward problems found profitable outcomes.
Many small businesses run into trouble because they start in a different place–the question they ask is: how does the owner make a living? Serving the customer comes second when the owner is focused too much on sunk costs and bills due.
Over time, successful businesses figure out how to align their goals with the customers they serve.
Even Beanie Babies solved a problem for someone.