Many companies, be that new start up, solo operators and even mature companies hit that stage in business where they’re left scratching their heads thinking what is the next big product. Heck, Ive been there several times over the years, its only natural to want to have that great product that everyone loves, and more importantly wants.
But you really need to think ahead of time, because all too often you can spend entirely too much time building a product that no one actually wants. Now I know lots of the time, prospects don’t even know what they want. However, if you spend lots of time working on building amazing products to then realise that the market place has changed, or the want is not there. What next?
I have found myself in this situation many times over the years. and heres the real trickery. Find out what problems your potential customers are facing (And believe me, they all have them).
Here are just a few problems that I see businesses struggle with each and everyday:
Finding new customers
Keeping existing customers
Selling more to existing customers
Improving the service offered to existing customers
Reducing personnel/business costs
Reducing customer complaints
Decreasing the time it takes getting to the market
Improving market share
Embracing and using new technology
Improving team/business morale
Developing new products
And this list isn’t even scratching the service, everywhere you look businesses face problems on a daily basis. So you would be much better finding out how to build solutions to these problems, rather than building products to problems that no one actually has.
I have wasted hours, upon hours of time thinking of cool new products that will rock the world of others, only to find that people don’t really have any issues with the way they do what I was trying to solve. And I know lots and lots of people and businesses that waste countless hours doing the same.
So, how do you go about finding problems to solve? Well, just look at the list I just mentioned above for starters. How many companies that are local to you struggle with any of the above situations? I bet you can think of half a dozen without even trying.
So heres my 3 top tips to finding which problems to solve:
1. Talk to the customer.
Talk to the potential customer, you cant identify a customers problem by presenting your product, nor can you help them by trying to solve problems they feel are unimportant or low priority. You must try and solve the right problem, and the only way you will discover this is by actually talking with the customer.
2. Explore the problem.
Find out how severe the problem is, how often does it occur, and when this problem is present what circumstances arise. Has it gotten worse, and more importantly what is the implication of the problem constantly occurring.
Having the customer become fully aware of the problem makes it much more real for them, and helps them to see that they need to find a solution.
3. What & When Criteria.
Be sure to discuss with the customer what the decision process and criteria will involve, how will you and the customer make a decision, when is the right time or deadline to decide. How will you measure the progress, and how will you measure the results?
Find out what leads the customer to feel there is a problem, can the customer define the problem. Stop selling and start listening, then sell a solution to the problem given.
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