Is it a problem worth solving?

March 30, 2023

By Graham McFarland, COO

I recently read a Twitter post that said:

“Silicon Valley’s problem is, in large part, that they’ve stopped fixing the average person’s problems. Tech hasn’t improved most people’s lives in a noteworthy way in over a decade and has made an awful lot of people’s lives much worse.”

What this Tweet is really saying is that we are trying too hard to solve problems that are not worth solving.  

How do you and your startup ensure that what you are pouring your passion and energy into building is truly a problem worthy of a solution?  We have a series of questions that need to be asked and answered early on to justify your efforts moving forward.  Any mentors, friends, investors, and employees will ask these same questions.  The answers create a clear vision for what you are building and why, which will help spread your passion.

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Who is trying to solve it now? (Do your research – it is likely someone is already ahead of you!)
  3. How are they trying to solve it?
  4. Why are they not successful?
  5. Why will you be different?
  6. How big is the problem? (Clearly define the individual impact and then extrapolate it into the market.)
  7. Are people willing to give value (money and/or time) for you helping to lessen or eliminate their problem?
  8. What happens to the user when you lessen or solve this problem for them? If so, does it lead to economic gains for the user (increased revenue, decreased costs, saves time, etc.)?
  9. Does solving this problem make you feel like you are making a positive impact on society? Why?

There are many valuable niche markets that go beyond the “Average Joe” but the point here is to do your diligence to ensure that you have accurately identified an actual pain point that if solved in order to build a successful and scalable business.

Remember discovering that a problem exists is just the first step in the entrepreneurial cycle.  Be certain that the problem you are trying to solve is worth solving.  If you cannot convince yourself by thoughtfully researching and answering the questions above, then it will be very difficult to persuade others.

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