Problems are everywhere. You’ve probably even got one now! We need problems to solve if we are going to start a business.
But, how can you figure out which problems should be prioritized to solve? You can solve all the problems in the world but if people aren’t willing to spend money for a resolution then you may just be wasting your time (unless you have another reason to solve it. So, that’s the first place to start. However, how can you find these? Well, you have to talk to a lot of people.
Talk to family and friends. Start going to networking events to talk to people in specific industries. Go to trade shows. That said, when you have discussions at events drive them with a purpose. It is really easy to lose focus while meeting new people. So, make sure that you are going to event that have a subject matter that you know something about. List questions out and memorize them so that when you get into an opportunity you’ll be prepared even if caught off guard.
Be sure to also be prepared with something to talk about other than work and industry questions. You will not get very far if you are just talking about work. In fact, you may end up getting the opposite of what you want (to find a business problem to solve) if you end up annoying everyone you meet.
Also extend your network to friends of friends or family. You can meet them at social gatherings or just out getting drinks. Just keep meeting as many people as possible and keep having conversations you’ll find something soon.
Be sure to not forget the people you meet with. When you’re meeting a lot of people its easy to forget names. Be sure to repeat the person’s name in multiple times in a conversation. That way the name sticks in your head better. Before you go to events create business cards to give out to people. This way you can promote your website, product, or service.
You will most likely not be able to record the conversations be sure to remember as much as you can and write it down as soon as possible. If you have a CRM that you can access from your phone then document a discussion right away. Even if you just have notes be sure to take something down to trigger your memory of the discussion to fill in later.
Once you’ve had a good conversation with someone and found a good business problem to solve assess if they are willing to spend money to have that problem solved. Additionally, understand what alternatives they have tried to solve the problem. You want to understand too what ramifications of doing nothing. Even though someone has a problem it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be solved.
If your discussion goes well enough make a suggestion to setup a follow up meeting in the near future (i.e. the following week/s). Be sure to be prepared for that meeting with a poc, demo, or at least a customized PowerPoint describing the problem discussion and value proposition.
Regardless of the outcome of the discussion be sure to send a follow up thanking the person you met for the discussion and be sure to keep in touch.
Be persistent. As long as you continue to keep talking to people you’ll eventually find a problem worth solving and turn it into a full time business. Keep at it!