When entrepreneurs come to me wanting help, they often are confused as to why the “brilliant” product or service they launched, or more often are in the process of launching is not resonating, not selling, and not adding the value to the bottom line forecasted in their ROI calculation. At this point I ask a number of questions. In my triage questions I am trying to determine if they have all the “rights” covered.
If I were employed to help the Obama Administration, before I could help with a strategy to get the 2009 Health Care Reform back on track, I would want to know if they have all the “rights” identified.
Are you Fixing the right problem?
One area entrepreneurs struggle with is they first set out with a clear vision; improve the health of the American people.
A vision not a business plan and since it is not measurable at this point it is not even a Goal.
The trouble arises when you build a solution based on your vision and not a solution designed to solve specific real problem(s). It should not surprise us that such a large % of new business start ups fail within 18 months.
When we study why new businesses and new products fail we find some common reasons for failure;
- no plan
- ran out of cash
- owner has technical knowledge but lacks experience and training to run a business
Market leaders who clearly articulate and have an intimate knowledge of the problem they want to solve win.
Market leaders write business plans based on goals created from the market up, and not the ivory tower down.
Market losers cast a broad wish list of visions without a clearly stated problem they want to solve and they fail.
Market losers fall in live with their product or solution and do not objectively listen for feedback.
Market losers lack a plan, lack revenues, and run out of cash.
In the case of the 2009 Health Care reform initiative, I think, when I muddle through what I hear as feature and benefit speak…are the following problems;
- Americans should not become financially bankrupt when they become sick
- All Americans should have health care to insure we are the healthiest nation in the world ( think we already have that by the way)
- Quality care
- Timely care
- Businesses should be able to provide affordable health care
- If you change jobs, you should have health care
- Affordable healthcare solutions
The key is to nail the problem(s) you want to solve clearly before you ask your team to solve it. You must also make sure the problem you are setting out to solve is not a problem for just you.
Before you try to scale it, make sure you nailed it with your solutions.
Note I said “solutions” as another mistake entrepreneurs make in trying to solve all the problems for everyone, everywhere, with one solution. This is an inside out thought process. Yes, it would be awesome and very cost effective (for all you CFO’s out there) if you can do that. However to brilliantly solve a market problem for specific buyer personas in your market, you may have a number of solutions to truly nail it.
When you try to solve too many loosely defined problems, your solution is Luke warm at best, does not resonate, and actually breaks the trust your market has in your Brand.
Once you set an expectation you will solve my problems then fail to do so when you launch your solution, you turn current customers into shoppers again, looking for new partners to vote for. (every dollar they spend is a vote)