Many startup founders nowadays are looking for ideas to work on, when in fact, they should be looking for problems to solve. From their initial product presentation to their potential investors and clients, these founders spend numerous pages on explaining how awesome their product and technology is, but never on what problems their product or technology can solve.
Successful startups usually solve problems in ways we couldn’t have imagined. In reality, most inventions that we have today are made to solve a certain problem. Mobile phones and communication apps were created to allow people to communicate with one another wherever they might be in the world. Planes made it possible for us to jump from one country to another; and washing machines made laundry a whole lot easier and effortless.
Now, the question is: how do you look for the perfect problem to solve? Here are a few things to note :
Make an existing solution better : Many startups that exist today aren’t exactly the first of their type to exist in their field. In fact, when Mark Zuckerberg was still building Facebook, Friendster, Myspace, and other social media outlets were already born. Although the last two startups were launched a year or two ahead of Facebook, Mark was still able to climb his way on top of the social media arena through Facebook’s sleek and simplified design. Integrating fun and communication in one, this great app still remains on top of our social media tools despite its 12 years of existence.
Go local : Research country-based startups and try to study their ways of solving the problems faced by their users. Adapt whatever it is that you have learned to your country demographic/ mindset/ culture and try to come up with something that aligns with your fellowmen’s culture and interests.
Target a certain industry : Focusing on a niche industry that truly interests you would definitely be a great sphere to work on and worthy of your time. LinkedIn has the business industry, while Airbnb went for the hotel search and booking concept. Now it’s your turn to decide the type of industry that you want to work on.
Look for loopholes : It might sound crazy, but you can build your startup based on the loopholes of other startups. Look for one that best captures your attention, study their business vertical, and talk to the experts within your chosen field to help you out. Do your best to understand the problems that they missed solving, and find your way from there.
Now that you have identified the problem, you need to think about how you can actually solve it while at the same time, making your product or service stand out in the market.
Instead of chasing ideas, turn around and look for problems. Good thing that they are everywhere!