Find Your Problem
Step 1: Brainstorm
Let’s do a little brainstorming. We’re not looking for ideas or products or a business. We’re looking for problems.
People buy solutions to their problems. So find the perfect problem, then create a great solution. (We’ll work on developing the right solution later.)
Pull out a pen and paper and start making a list of problems you, your friends, and your family experience. What makes you frustrated? What takes too much time? What takes too much money? What seems inefficient? What seems broken?
Can’t think of anything right now? Start a running list on your phone. Add to it when you think of something.
Step 2: Narrow Your List
Now that you have a nice list of problems, let’s whittle is down to the best options. “Best” is a relative term and will be defined by the ultimate goal you set in the previous post.
For example, if you don’t have a lot of time to invest on a regular basis (if say, you have a new baby, a toddler, and a full time job like me!), then you won’t want to make a solution that requires a significant amount of time to make. So cross off anything that is requires you to make a unique, hand-made item for each sale.
If you don’t want to make a significant capital investment up front, cross off any solutions that require a lot of money to get started. Large pieces of machinery, complex software development, and employees are all going to have high costs.
However, you can find work arounds to these limitations, so don’t be too quick to cross stuff off. Perhaps you can outsource anything handmade, or do things manually until you can afford that expensive machine that will automate your process.
Step 3: Prioritize Your List
You are going to need to become an expert at prioritizing, and this is your first opportunity to give it a try. Prioritize the remaining problems with the one you want to tackle the most at the top. Take into account your interests, your skills, and your ideal investment.
In the next post, we’ll go over how to begin researching the top problem on your list to see if it is the right opportunity to pursue.
Real Life Example
One of my flops was an ecommerce fashion site, Glitter Riot. I created it because I enjoy fashion and shopping, and I thought it would be fun.
There was no particular problem I was trying to solve and, therefore, no reason any shopper should choose my site over a competitor’s. Not surprisingly, no one chose my site. I had a grand total of ONE sale!
What would I do different next time?
If I were to do it again, I would look to identify a problem with online shopping and create an ecommerce site to solve it.
For example, I love delicate, understated earrings and necklaces, but they are hard to find. Each site only has a few options so I need to visit many sites in order to sufficiently review my options. If there are others who also view this as a problem, a valuable solution could be a site that specializes in delicate jewelry from a variety of brands. Prospective buyers could view many options in one location, which will make the buying process easier and quicker.
The site would have a purpose – it would provide a solution to a problem and stand out from the crowd.