How can startup entrepreneurs look for problems to solve?

Start talking.

By FAR, the greatest mistake that entrepreneurs make is that they just set out. They have an assumption or desire about how to solve a problem, the idea, and they go -> They build THAT so they can solve a problem they think exists.

Here’s the trick that no one will tell you though: You don’t start selling and don’tjust start building.

How do you uncover problems worth solving??

If you are to actually have what you might consider a successful venture, a business, it starts there – in determining that you actually have a business. Do you know a market intimately?

Competitors, history, potential partners, costs, revenue models, what potential customers think they want – and what they might actually want?

That’s your job. That’s the half of a business that creates the value. So let’s start, right now, with 4 simple things:

ONE: Get a notebook. Head to your favorite coffee shop and start ONE of 500, sit down, face-to-face, one-on-one random interviews to figure out what not to do.

Take any idea you have… an AI for pet walking businesses, blockchain for pineapple nurseries, a mobile app for plotting the average air-speed velocity of unladen African swallows…

Yes, FIVE HUNDRED random people. Start spending your days caffeinated – you’re going to need it anyway.

Build a foundation of people to whom to turn with the initial solution having learned from them what not to do.

TWO: Start marketing, constantly. Not promotion! We don’t have anything to promote yet. Start MarketingThe work of knowing and developing the market.

This is not the same as step #1, talking to potential customers, nor is it promotion. This is market research, competitive analysis, studying from where you might get funding, learning how such things exit, investigating what works and what doesn’t, etc.

We do this to such a great degree as this is how we figure out what to do….

A ha! A problem worth solving.

insider secret: because customers are usually wrong – you do the interviews to figure out what NOT to do and you do marketing to figure out what TO do

THREE: Establish some market share by building out some industry assets: a Facebook group, a twitter, a mailing list, a newsletter… build some assets that are NOT consistent with your company name. We’re not yet building a brand as we don’t have that yet either– build some potential market share through industry related assets from where you’ll find an audience, fans, and early customers.

Don’t overthink this! Start a Facebook Group for bird watchers interested in African swallows and share Monty Python memes to keep them interested.

FOUR: Build a team. No idea in the history of startups is the success of one person, right? No investor in the history of investors funds one person.

Figure out your gaps and fill them with experience in a team that can succeed in efficiently and effectively addressing a problem worth addressing. Build a relevant, committed, diverse, capable team and you can accomplish anything: startups really only fail when the team quits.

WHY am I taking you all the way through my step FOUR?

Because as an entrepreneur, it’s your peers and team of experienced partners who will uncover further problems that need to be solved to make this venture successful. More importantly though, it’s that team who will ensure you DON’T waste time solving problems that have already been solved…. building a business is about developing a sustainable and competitive solution to the problem and you can NOT afford to keep figuring things out yourself. Identify the problem to address and turn to the market and team to work out the solutions that keep your solution alive.