Dianne J. Shaver
One of the things that is becoming crystal clear during this PITCH U is that there is always a way around things. At the moment a lot of investors are not living up to their name. The reason being that business exists are no longer 3-5 years and some not even 5-7 years so investors are sitting on their cash until some of their investments come through.
However, many of the presenters for PITCH U are demonstrating that there are other ways to get funds. Some are going to the businesses who will be using their product and services and receiving funds from them. Some are using the new crowdfunding sources because there are new ones that are business focused.
Every obstacle has a solution. That is one of the things that seems to have gotten lost for many of us. But to find it we need to think differently. You cannot find a solution with the same kind of thinking that produced the problem. For instance, one of the entrepreneurs has a product that has many uses and was having trouble marketing it as an all purpose product. During PITCH U last week as a team we came up with the solution - label the product separately for each use with a label specific to that use. Now the founder has 5 products to sell and each has a very specific use so that it’s easier for consumers to understand its purpose.
There was also a concern that there weren’t funds to have the packaging plant put together different packages for each separate product. The solution - visual labels on the website and taking preorders which would pay for the repackaging.
Sometimes we become weary of pushing against the doors that are not opening. We need to find new doors or create them. There are a lot of things in our world that are not working but each has a solution. Our job is to find the ones that are not obvious.
That brings to mind: a retired CIA operative had a great insight. She said that if we could sit with out enemy and they with us and each could explain why there was fear of the other and the issues that were causing such anger there would be a way to find mutual solutions rather than killing one another. A friend who was a Lt. Colonel in the Marines during the peace talks would sit with other officials and would often find peaceful solutions. There is a solution to everything. Begin to see that for the big and small obstacles in your life. Once you view things that way the solutions start coming more easily and you will feel powerful in your life. It’s a good feeling.
Don't Just Start a Business, Solve A Problem
Thomas Oppong for Entrepreneur
As long as consumers have problems, they will always search for solutions. People will always look for better, faster and smarter ways to accomplish everyday tasks. And fortunately for entrepreneurs, there are still lots of rooms for improvements in existing products. That said, the biggest issue for most founders is finding these painful problems and matching them with the best solutions possible.
Here are a couple pieces of insight to get you started.
Focus on building a must have not a nice to have product. Consumers are overwhelmed with the paradox of choice on daily basis. Attention spans are getting shorter in the age of multi-tasking and only few products are getting noticed – with many being a solution for a must not a want. The demand for quicker and faster results make it difficult to fully satisfy the needs of consumers. You need to be doing something different and better to make it in this world, as consumers expect and demand more than just another product.
Solve real painful problems. Google made search better. Amazon simplified online buying and selling. Netflix solved on-demand streaming media. Uber is trying to make on-demand car service better. What can you make smarter or better?
What is the one painful problem you can solve without struggle? To grab your customer's attention, start by solving their needs, wants rarely make the cut. If your product is not a must-have, you could still find a way to repurpose it to solve a pressing need. If you have been able to identify a crucial problem that you can effectively execute and deliver to market, you will be able to create a real business that matters.
Your business should be your passion. Some entrepreneurs look to solve problems they identify with or feel passionate. They choose this path because work because less about work and more about enjoying the journey.
You will need all the inspiration, commitment and the perseverance you can get to make it as an entrepreneur, hence the need to start a business you are passionate about.
"The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them," Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston said during the 2013 MIT commencement address.
Coupled with passion, is the ability to execute. If you can't deliver, you are not in business. Products with a real need are easy to market and you won't have to convince people about the existence of the problem and the need for your product because they identify with it.
You don't want to start a business that may not survive. Do your homework, validate your idea and make sure you have a real market for your idea. Don't just start another business, solve a real problem people actually have to increase your chances of success.