People have problems. Good businesses solve problems.
As an entrepreneur, the best way for you to connect with your potential customers is to focus on how your business solves their problems. Not just any problem, either: a specific, urgent problem that the potential customer is looking to solve.
It’s a pretty basic concept, yes?
When you don’t have groceries in the house (problem), you head out to the grocery store (solution).
When you want a new dress for an upcoming date (problem), you head out to your favorite store to buy something pretty that will wow your beau (solution).
When you want to learn how to play guitar (problem), you Google local guitar teachers to find lessons (solution).
Again, good businesses solve problems.
The problems you solve in your business might (or might not) be well-defined. And that’s where putting your natural problem-solving abilities to use serves you (and your bottom line) well.
Every successful business solves a problem for a specific type of person, and the best businesses solve specific problems, for specific people.
Consumers are drawn to services and products they believe will make their lives easier or better. When you conceptualize your business’s products and services as solutions to specific, urgent problems your perfect-fit clients want solved, you’ve done more than half the work of selling said products and services.
Because when your business solves a powerful problem for a specific person, telling those people about your problem-solving prowess is a boon. Offering people a solution to a problem they desperately want to solve is much easier thing than squeamishly “selling” your amazing products and services.
Business as problem solving = selling as helping
Pretty cool, right?
But before you can help (er, sell), you need to identify the problem YOU solve as an entrepreneur (and for whom). The problem your business solves might not be the problem my business solves. Or, we might solve the very same problem, for different groups of people.
Let’s dig into those problems, shall we?
Problems worth solving
The first thing to ask yourself when on a solution-finding quest in business is:
“What problems are my perfect-fit clients willing to solve?”
The only solutions your perfect-fit clients are going to invest in are those that solve problems:
- they know about.
- they care about solving.
To put it even more clearly: there are tons of problems you could solve, but it’s only worth your time and effort to solve problems your perfect-fit customer wants solved.
Make sense? Now let’s determine which problems to solve.
1. Solve problems your perfect-fit clients know about
Everyone has hidden problems that nag and annoy but that they do not know how to fix. If your potential customers aren’t motivated to find (and fix) the underlying problem, attempting to solve these problems will backfire.
Here’s an example: A few months ago, I spoke with a chiropractor who wanted my support marketing his business. I asked who her business served, and she responded with the standard party-line for wellness businesses: Everyone. I gently suggested that she dig a little deeper by creating a general sketch of her perfect-fit clients, but she remained firm in the assertion that she didn’t need to refine her target market in order to make her advertising and promotion more effective.
The chiropractor’s business was struggling because her marketing was attempting to speak to everyone — which resulted in an ineffective strategy that spoke to no one.
And she didn’t know about (or care to solve) that particular problem. Needless to say, I chose not to accept her as a client, because my work builds on the foundation that successful businesses serve a specific audience (a.k.a., a target market). In order for me to do my best work, my clients need to be aware of this business truism and be ready to make the appropriate shifts.
2. Solve problems the customer cares about solving
It’s imperative that your customer is aware of the problem that needs solving — and the one that you solve. It’s also necessary that your customer cares about solving the problem. In fact, these are the most valuable types of problems for you as a business owner to solve, because your customer is motivated to solve them!
If you articulate how your work solves that problem, your customer will be willing to invest time, energy and resources into your valuable solution.
Here’s an example: Say you’re an attorney who works with small business owners in the service industry and you provide valuable insight, support and legal advice. While you could cover a variety of problems with this skill set and target market, your research (and instinct) pulls you toward a solution many business owners are highly motivated to solve: how to manage non-paying clients.
Your perfect-fit clients are small business owners who provide services and then struggle to get paid. These business owners need legal advice, litigation support and general “next steps” for situations where their own clients refuse to pay for services rendered. These small business owners are very motivated to solve this problem because they need to get paid!
What problem do YOU solve?
Identifying and articulating the higher-order problems your business solves, for specific people, must inform the bulk of your business strategy. Once you do clarify these problems, developing your unique solution is the fun part. And the good news?
Solving a valuable problem your perfect-fit client is aware of, in a unique way, while providing excellent products and services, is a recipe for entrepreneurial success.
To determine the problems you solve — or to reframe your business in terms of valuable, effective solutions — ask yourself:
What does my perfect-fit client or customer need and want?
We all want to be healthier, wealthier, wiser and happier. Start with those basic wants then move onto needs. Does your perfect-fit client need tools, tips or strategy to achieve those aims? Think about what you can offer, in a unique way, to support your client’s needs and wants.
What specific problems trouble your perfect-fit clients?
If you’ve been in business for a time, you can send out a quick one- or two-question survey to past clients and ask what they’re struggling with currently (or in the past). Find the specific issues (and the underlying themes) that will allow you to craft a unique solution.
What are the pressing problems your clients are motivated to solve?
Finding the problem your perfect-fit clients are most motivated to solve is the ticket to lasting success in business. These are the problems people are willing to invest resources into solving. Craft your unique services and products with these problems in mind and your business will become a solution-finding success story.