Join Whitney Johnson for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding a problem to solve, part of Entrepreneurship Foundations (2014).
- "Is your company hiring?" This is a commonly asked question amongst job-seekers. The dictionary's definition of hire is "To engage the services of a person, for payment." But, have you ever considered that the term "hiring" has a much broader definition? That hiring extends to every product and service we use. Whenever we buy something, we are hiring the product or service to meet an unmet need. To do a job. With few exceptions, every job that people want done has emotional, social, and functional elements.
Buying a home or an apartment, for example. The obvious unmet need, put a roof over your head. But if that person buys a much larger house than required, for shelter, there's also an emotional job underfoot. I want to share with you four simple steps that can help you find an unmet need. A job to be done. Step number one is to make a list of your dreams. Whether personal or professional, big or small. When we dream, we are hungering for a better life.
This intense desire leads us to a heightened level of engagement, making problem-solvers of us all. Letting nothing stand in our way. Ed Hoffman, the Chief Knowledge Officer at NASA has said, "Dreams lead to problems. Problems lead to innovation. "Innovation is one of the foundations of entrepreneurship." The next step to finding an unmet need is to make note of problems that need to be solved. As you consider how to make your dream happen, roadblocks will be inevitable.
For an entrepreneur, these roadblocks present an opportunity to find a way around, over, or underneath. To innovate. Step three. Once you've identified a problem research what products or services people currently hire to solve that problem. There may already be a product that satisfies this unmet need. But if you, in your problem-solving mode, haven't found it, it's quite possible there isn't a tidy or simple solution. The final step is to ask "Why?" As you observe what people do to meet this need, you'll not only discover the functional jobs to be done, but peer into the emotional and social needs that are or are not being met.
Scott Cook wanted to start his own business, and he heard his wife complain about paying bills. His opportunity came when the desire to start a company intersected with his wife's frustration at paying bills, and advances in personal computing. His product-marketing hat on, he wondered, "Couldn't easy, hassle-free software be built "to manage his family's finances?" Scott Cook is the founder of Intuit, that brought is Quicken and Turbo Tax.
Another great example is Erin Newkirk. After the birth of her first child, Erin's life became so busy, she felt out of touch. The desire to strengthen her relationships was the impetus to launch Red Stamp, an easy way for people to be thoughtful on the go. Whether you've yet to come up with a business idea, or are looking to vet an idea, remember the best ideas start with articulating a dream. Figuring out how to accomplish this dream begins to inform everything you do. Helping overcome roadblocks.
Becoming an extension of your natural curiosity. When you ask "Why?" you will nearly always come up with a job that needs to be done. The kernel of a business opportunity.
- Cite the steps that can help you find an unmet need.
- Differentiate between a business and a hobby.
- Recognize how to decide between an online business and a brick and mortar business.
- Describe how to protect your intellectual property.
- Explain the best practices for hiring the right people.
- Recall the importance of tapping into networks of expertise.
- Cite the best practices for building a business website.
- Summarize the best metrics to use for your online business.