When you have a business idea, it’s hard to know where to start or whether your idea has any merit. This is the most common question we get asked so we thought we’d share a few tips to help you take your first entrepreneurial steps.
What problem are you solving?
Every business idea needs to solve a problem, because ultimately that’s why customers see value and pay for your product or service (it’s a solution to a problem they’re having). So if you’re starting out, be clear on what problem you are solving. This problem could be functional, emotional or social. For example, take espresso coffee – it’s functional problem to solve might be helping you stay awake in the morning, it’s emotional problem to solve might be keeping up your morning routine, and it’s social problem to solve might be that it helps you stay connected to the friends you get coffee with each morning.
Is your problem worth solving?
When you know what problem you are solving, you then need to find out if it’s actually worth solving this problem. Put simply, is this a problem only you have experienced or are there many other people (potential customers) who are also experiencing this problem? There are a few ways that you can find out if your problem is worth solving:
Desk research – Jump on google and look for stats about your problem. Are there industry reports, blogs from thought-leaders or media articles talking about your problem?
Customer interviews – Think about who experiences this problem the most and find some of these people to chat to. Ask them about their experiences with this problem – how often do they experience it, is it’s a small or big problem for them, how are they currently solving it?
Customer observation – If your problem can be easily spotted visually, find some potential customers to observe. Ask them to go through their usual motions or routine where they experience the problem, and note down anything interesting you see them do or say. You’ll be surprised at the gems you might find in these tiny observations!
Is anyone already solving it?
Once you’re confident that you have a problem and it’s worth solving, find out if anyone is already solving it. These will not only be direct competitors, but anything who customers are using to solve this problem (their current solution might not look anything like your solution). For example, an alternative solution to coffee might be an energy drink or caffeine tablet. Find out who your competitors and alternatives are and then assess what they’re doing well and what they’re missing. This will help you spot the gaps in the market that your solution can fill.