A framework to choose which problem you should solve
Yesterday I met few friends after many years. After everybody sharing their whereabouts, it was my turn to share what I’m working on. I explained I’m working on a new venture and also shared the details of the problem we’re solving. The first question one of the friends asked was — “why did you decide to solve this problem?”
It was a great question. As they say, as a startup founder, you should be able to answer these 3 questions with high clarity and conviction –
- Why this? (Focuses on problem statement and opportunity)
- Why now? (Focuses on market and technology landscape)
- Why you? (Focuses on founding team)
The good part was, I had thought a lot about why I want to solve this problem from various perspectives, so it was easy to answer my friend’s question.
So I thought I should share a framework with you all that I used to decide which problem I want to solve.
As mentioned in my previous post –
I researched and brainstormed a couple of problems extensively, discussed it with other people too, and eventually decided to solve a problem that I faced every single day in my professional life as a knowledge worker, and is also applicable to pretty much most of the knowledge workers in the world.
I want to fix the productivity and information loss problem that happens during every “meeting” — the necessary evil of a corporate life.
While it was a simplistic overview of why I picked up the problem that I’m currently working on, here is a list of questions I used to choose the problem I want to solve and start my next business venture —
- Do I personally face this problem? If yes, do I face this problem very frequently and how frequently?
- Do other people also face this problem? If yes, how many such people exist? Is it a very large population?
- Do I have the basic understanding of the problem and the solution domain?
- Is there a lot of progress happening in the larger space of that domain?
- Do I have initial thoughts on what will be the differentiation compared to competitors?
- Is it a hard problem to solve such that it will not be easy for too many competitors to enter into this space?
- If I make it affordable and at the same time deliver high value, will people pay? If yes, who will pay and how much will they pay?
- Will a single user receive a value from this solution or will it require more people using this service (e.g. entire team or organization) to receive basic value?
- How will I sell this solution? Can I sell this using bottom-up B2C2B model or will I need a typical top-down enterprise sales model?
- How will I distribute this solution? Are there any viral/referral distribution opportunities? Are there any platforms/partners that I can integrate with to distribute this solution?
- Do I believe by solving this problem, will I be making a positive impact in many people’s lives and the world a better place?
- Finally, if I fail to solve this problem, will I learn something new that will prepare me for the next wave/demand in the technology space?
The current problem I’ve decided to solve met all above requirements and had very compelling answers for each of the question.
I hope this framework and a list of questions will be useful to you too to choose your next business venture.
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