Good problems for our apps to address
The greatest misstep is solving the wrong problem
Stepping out of the shower, we are convinced that we have come up with the best business idea ever. Before we drop everything to pursue our new dream, however, we may be wise to check it’s a significant problem we plan to address.
What is a good problem?
Ideas that could form the basis of a great business can be hard to spot. There are, however, features we can look for in the problem we plan to solve. Good problems do not need to have all these features, but the more, the better.
Impacts many people. Our solution can address a large market. To make millions, we have to impact millions, unless the problem for individuals is of very high value. Scalability is one of the 5 Features of Our Fantastic Business.
Painful. The problem consumes much time, effort or resources when it occurs. We need to avoid problems that have simple work arounds. Find out how people address it now.
Needs a quick resolution. Problems that need solving in a few minutes are better than those that can wait a month.
Growing fast. The market for solutions to the problem is growing quickly, e.g. more than 20% per year. Is the problem growing faster than others we could address?
Occurs frequently. Short time intervals are best, e.g. hourly or daily, rather than annually. We do certain things multiple times per day, e.g. eat and travel, but renew insurance once per year. Every time the problem occurs is an opportunity to engage with our solution.
Mandatory. A change in the law or regulations may have either opened up new opportunities or imposed a new behaviour.
Visible. Problems that are discussed and shared with others are good. This will help rapidly grow the use of our solution. Network Effects - Growing Pains explores this further.
How I Develop App Ideas post by Phil Martin
Testing Our Business Ideas post by Phil Martin
Startup Playbook article by Sam Altman
Problem Discovery for Calm SaaS Businesses post by Arvid Kahl
Good problems (if that is not an oxymoron) to find solutions for exhibit various features we should look for. Until next Sunday, I hope inspiration hits you when you next step into the shower.