Feb 5, 2019
Ep 66: How to Identify the Problem Your Business Solves for Your Customers
When I was pregnant with my first child, we were so excited to find out the gender. When we learned we were having a boy, we immediately started brainstorming cute boy names and colors and themes for his nursery. We even bought outfits. There were so many things we could plan, build and create because of that one piece of information.
Believe it or not, this same scenario is true for business too. There is one piece of information that can and does dictate every other decision you make: the problem you solve.
While knowing the problem you solve is crucial to success, too many companies operate for years before they ever figure it out. Many of you started your business from a hobby. It’s a great strategy. But when it’s a hobby, it only serves you. Once you turn your hobby into a business, it needs to solve a problem for someone else.
Before I go any further, please don’t get intimidated by the word problem. Just because you create hair bows or paint canvases doesn’t mean you’re not solving a real issue. Too many people think that because they’re not doing something people need, they’re not solving an actual problem.
Here’s the truth: No matter what you do, your product does solve an issue. You might just have to dig a little deeper to find the problem your business can solve.
For example, if you make hair bows, you’re solving a problem for parents who want their daughter’s hair accessories to match their outfits. You’re also solving a problem for the countless little girls who don’t grow hair until they’re toddlers. Their parents no longer need to clarify whether their baby is a boy or a girl because she’s wearing an adorable bow on her head. I know my mother was grateful for hair bows when I was a bald baby! That’s a real problem you solve!
Or, in the other example, you create custom paintings. You’re solving a problem for people who don’t want to purchase art for their home from a big-box store. There are those who want a one-of-a-kind piece of art with a personal story behind it. And guess what? That’s what you offer.
When you identify the problem you solve in your business, you learn so many other important pieces of information as well.
3 Things You Learn When You Identify the Problem Your Business Solves
1. Your Target Market
Your target market is the group of people who have the problem you solve. You can’t identify that group if you don’t know their pain points, what they struggle with, and what they’re looking for. When you identify the problem you solve, you know exactly who to market your product or service to. You no longer waste time and money trying to sell to people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer!
2. Your Value Proposition
Identifying the problem also gives you your basis for figuring out how much your product or service is worth. This is the foundation and justification for how much to charge. Why does your product or service cost that specific amount? Well, it’s because you solve this specific problem. Oh, and by the way, the problem you solve is the only thing your market cares about. The only reason they will pay you is because you solve a problem for them.
3. Your Marketing Language
Your customers’ pain points should be exactly what you talk about in all of your messaging. Whether you’re writing marketing copy for your website, creating brochures for a trade show, or making connections at a networking event, the problem you solve should be the main thing you talk about because that’s all your customers care about.
If you’ve been running your business for a while, don’t think this exercise doesn’t apply to you. No matter how long you’ve been in business, I want you to take all of your marketing messaging and run it through this filter: Does this answer the question of what problem I solve? Take time this week to think about that question and I bet you’ll be amazed at how it can completely change and improve the trajectory of your business.
How to Build a Business Around Solving a Problem With Laura Berens
Laura Berens is proof of what happens when you first identify a problem and then build a business to solve it. Laura is the host of the Time To Be You Podcast and founder of Love and Fit, a line of activewear for pregnant and postpartum moms. When you land on her company’s website, you read “Activewear for Moms” alongside a photo of two moms nursing their babies in really cute activewear. It’s pretty clear what problem her company solves.
When she was three months postpartum, Laura remembers trying to work out in the living room while her newborn napped. Too often her baby would wake up in the middle of her exercise routine. Her problem was that exercising in a nursing bra didn’t provide enough support, but working out in a sports bra made it difficult to stop and nurse her baby. After researching the market, she couldn’t find anything that was both supportive and moisture wicking. She couldn’t believe someone hadn’t thought of a product that would do both.
Without any background in fashion or sewing, she hit the ground running. She had designs created and prototypes manufactured, and she would hand them out to her mom friends (her target market!) for feedback. By identifying a problem and coming up with a solution, Laura has been able to successfully market her products directly to the people who need them. In this episode, we talk about:
- Learning how to have a conversation with the marketplace to identify the problem you solve
- Navigating an industry you have no experience in
- Knowing what to do next when you start a business
- Creating specific personas in order to find your target market
Your Responsibility as a Business Owner
Growing up, I remember my mother always taking me to this amazing restaurant that was just down the street from her cake shop. They had the best sandwiches—one that I still attempt to recreate to this day.
You know what’s sad? They closed up shop years ago, and I hate that I’ll never get to enjoy their sandwiches again.
Have you ever thought about your business from the perspective of your customer? When you solve a problem for someone, do you see the deep level of responsibility you have as a business owner? It’s not just about you anymore. You have a responsibility to manage your money well, to earn a profit, and to steward your time, etc., in order to stay in business. Why? Because you don’t just a run a business. You’re solving a problem for people, and they need you to continue doing so. They need you to stay in business.
Think about all your favorite places that have gone out of business over the years. Think about how disappointed your customers would be if you closed your company.
Friends, you have the responsibility to stay in business because we need you to.
1:23 How to Identify the Problem Your Business Solves
14:46 How to Build a Business Around Solving a Problem With Laura Berens
45:19 Encouragement to Stay in Business
If you have a success story you would like to share with the Business Boutique community, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.