The People And The Problem

Our business startup formula: 

  1. Find a group of people to observe
  2. Determine the maximum amount of money that they are willing to pay to solve a problem
  3. Calculate the extent of the impact that you can make from the group that you have selected
  4. Decide whether you want to proceed with the project or business.

Anytime you start a business, start with the people. Find out WHO your results will benefit. Then start connecting with that group of people to find out what challenges they really face. You have to start working with what the customer wants, and then build what they want. It is a simple place to start, but it isn’t easy. 

Finding The People

First, you have to find a group of people to observe. Usually, we choose the group of people to whom we have the easiest access. But before you adopt this group as your primary customer, I challenge you to go out and find another group of people and determine why they aren’t your customer. Once you have connected with a couple of different groups of people, you will be able to decide which group is the best one to serve. Once you have several groups that you know well, you are less likely to settle on the easiest one. 

What’s Your Problem

Once you have a group of people selected, you can start to ask them about the problems that they need to be solved. The key is to focus on understanding the people you with whom you are talking. Design thinking focuses on empathy and discovering the best solution with the customer. You can use design thinking or any other discovery approach, but the key is to listen to your customers. We tend to listen for a while, and then find a solution that you believe they will like better because it solves their problem and a few issues that we see. Discipline yourself to listen, and then bring forward a solution that only solves their problem. Create a prototype or a mock-up, and ask them if they would buy your offer if the prototype were real. If you solve a real challenge for your customers, they will buy from you. You don’t need to address the additional problems, because they don’t need that pain-point soothed, yet. 

Find your customers, listen to them as they talk about their problems. Then propose a solution that solves their problems and only their problems.