The importance of solving a real problem cannot be overemphasized if you intend to start a business that can survive. There are hundreds of thousands of startup ideas that have been launched but guess what, only a few are actually in business now. Are you solving a compelling problem?
One of the most important questions you should be asking yourself is whether you are solving a real problem with a great and unique solution and what you need to do to keep that solution relevant as you grow.
There is nothing new under the sun, but there is always a better way to make something better, find a simpler way to get that task done efficiently or provide tools to make work easier for you and everyone else who would find them useful. You can begin by scratching your own itch- Michael Arrington( founder of Techcrunch)
What ever you do, make sure your startup idea solves a problem now and tomorrow. No business is ever safe, ask yourself if you will still be around in the next five , ten or twenty years. There are lots of business viability questions you need to ask yourself.
Are you solving a need or want?
Have you identified if your idea solves a need or want. Do people really need what you intend to provide or what you are currently offering. Validate your startup idea to make sure it solves a problem real people have.
Make sure you gather data that can prove that people are willing and ready to use your new product now not just people who could see themselves using it one day. Don’t just build what somebody will want, satisfy a need.
Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator ( one of the most popular startup accelerator in the US) could not have said it any better in how to get startup ideas:
“Why is it so important to work on a problem you have? Among other things, it ensures the problem really exists. It sounds obvious to say you should only work on problems that exist. And yet by far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.”
But every entrepreneur starts a business to solve a problem!
You could argue that almost very entrepreneur starts a business to solve a problem. That’s what every wannabe entrepreneur thinks he or she is doing. The very passionate ones do everything in their power to get their startup ideas out there only to realize there is no market for it.
Don’t make that mistakes today, make a conscious effort to find out who your target is, what size is that market, is the market growing?, what options do they have currently? Find out how you will reach your audience and the best way to reach them.
Can you figure out what will be missing in the future?
Take a trip into the future and figure out what people will need when they get there. Create what will be missing in the future today and you will be guaranteed a growing market. But how? What you can do now that can make the most difference in the future. What products are being used now that can be improved tomorrow.
Once there was.., but now there is…!
There was Yahoo, but came Google, Facebook figured it out when we still had MySpace and Quora is the new Answers.com. Creative engineers are building the next big thing in their garages. It’s about time to build something people will still need in the future. You can never buy time, invest it in the right project now!
Don’t be too early!
There is a fine line between what the market need now and what they will still need tomorrow. Some startups have failed because they were just too early. They had everything but the market just wasn’t ready.
You cannot business-model your way out of a shitty product. – Tim O’Neil