Find your great problem

Do you think that you can't start a start-up because of a missing convincing business idea? You're wrong! According to the entrepreneurial method, you don't need more than a great problem. To find a great problem, it is crucial to go through the world with open eyes. You can recognize the problem in your professional or private environment. However, you don't have to reinvent the wheel, because often it is small improvements that are the big solution to a problem. IKEA offers a frequently cited example of this. Until then, furniture was shipped fully assembled, which led to cumbersome transport and often damaged furniture. Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA founder, came up with the idea of integrating customers into the value chain and, from then onwards, offered the furniture components in flat-packed packages for self-assembly. You probably know the result. IKEA is one of the world's leading furniture stores today.
The following steps are crucial in identifying problems and finding solutions:
  • Identify the identified problem as concretely as possible.
  • Define so-called personas for this (Personas are ideal representations of groups of people in everyday life and are simplified descriptive models of users, customers, and other stakeholders).
  • To know your customers as well as possible and create personas, you contact your target customers and listen to them carefully. Here it is worthwhile to get to the bottom of your customers by asking them how they have perceived and approached the problem so far.
  • In defining the personas, you explain how the problem you have identified affects your respective persona.
  • The next step is to explain which client jobs you offer with your problem solving for your personas.
  • List your value propositions, expressed in attributes, to your clients.
  • From the list of value propositions, you then derive your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
In addition to your identified customer, you should also find other potential customer types with the same or similar problems. Also, for these defined customer types, go through the steps mentioned above.
Once you can explain the problem in detail, define how your solution differs from existing solutions. Is your solution faster, cheaper, more comfortable, ... then the existing solutions? What makes your value proposition combination unique? The answer to this question is your great problem and your starting point for the entrepreneurial method. As you have now realized, it is not about having a diffuse business idea as your starting point. What is relevant is that you recognize a problem that affects as many people as possible and that these recognized people are eager to have this problem solved and are therefore willing to pay the price for the solution.