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29 Oct What is the problem?

 

Usuallytumblr_inline_n3hg82IDe01qmrwzp when clients reach out to us for web development work, we start off with one crucial question: What is the problem that you are trying to fix with this new product? This seemingly simple question, if answered right, can be the guiding light that will continuously steer your product in the right direction. By asking yourself this, you are putting yourself in the user’s perspective and looking at your business and product from their eyes. There is not much value in selling solutions that nobody really needs, and what people really need are effective means of dealing with problems.

A good understanding of the problem helps give product development teams a North, a Vision, and a Purpose. Without a clear understanding of this, it becomes like erecting a building without knowing WHY or even IF it is necessary.

The challenge: how do we figure out what problem we are trying to solve? Well, its easy but it takes some work. The key is to go out and talk to your potential users, as early and as often as possible. Ask questions, send out surveys and do industry research. You make the assumptions and then you validate. Let’s say you are building a web application that allows small businesses to receive online payment and pay their vendors. One approach is to start building a solution assuming that you know what all small businesses need in regards to B2B payments.

However, that is probably not exactly true, and to make things worse, you are introducing a lot of risk into your business by blindly assuming. How you remove that risk is by talking to your customer and asking whether there is really a problem. Then, realizing what that problem looks like from their perspective. What you learn may turn out to be completely different from what you had assumed, and your solutions may need to change and adjust. Whenever this happens, you should feel happy. It means you are learning. This is called validated learning.

As entrepreneurs, it is easy to become fixated with our solutions and lose track of what really matters. Keep your eye on the problem, always. The solution only really matters if it is actually solving the problem. As an entrepreneur, your goal should not be market and sell solutions, but rather to solve a problem, in a sustainable manner, for as many people, as efficiently as possible.

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