Don't Just Start A Business, Solve A Problem
You may not think that the “Pet Rock” solved a problem for consumers, but Gary Dahl did and discovered something interesting.
In April 1975, Gary Dahl was in a bar (which is now Beauregard Vineyards Tasting room in Bonny Doon) listening to his friends complain about their pets. This gave him the idea for the perfect “pet”: a rock. A rock would not need to be fed, walked, bathed, or groomed; and would not die, become sick, or be disobedient. He said they were to be the perfect pets, and joked about it with his friends. Dahl took the idea seriously and drafted an “instruction manual” for a pet rock. It was full of puns, gags, and plays on words that referred to the rock as an actual pet.
1.5 Million Pet Rocks Sold in 6 Months
Pet Rocks were a smooth stone from Mexico's Rosarito Beach. They were marketed like live pets, in custom cardboard boxes, complete with straw and breathing holes for the “animal.” The fad lasted about six months, ending after a short increase in sales during the Christmas season of December 1975. Although by February 1976 they were discounted due to lower sales, Dahl sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks for $4 each, and became a millionaire. Source: Wikipedia
What Problem Will Your Startup Solve?
Does your startup business solve a problem or meet a consumer need in the market? Unless it does, you may end up spinning your wheels developing a solution that the marketplace does not need or want.
Keep in mind that a business exists to solve problems and meet the needs of consumers better than competitors in the market; at an affordable price.
A problem/need is a condition that a consumer has that is calling for a solution that either does not exist or the available solution has shortcomings or gaps. Successful businesses identify these gaps in the marketplace and attempt to fill them with a solution.
- Google made search better.
- Amazon simplified online buying & selling.
- Netflix solved on-demand streaming media.
- Uber is attempting to make on-demand car service better.
What is the Marketplace Telling You?
The key point to remember is, you want to identify what the marketplace says is a problem/need or gap and not what you believe is the problem.
To help you identify the problem ask questions such as:
- What are the consumers/clients' main concern?
- What conditions/circumstances are preventing consumers/clients from getting what they desire?
- Why are consumers/clients are seeking a solution?
Another important point to remember is to not define your business around the product/service. Instead, you want to define your business around the problem or the need.
What to know when starting a business