Problem solving. It's why many businesses are started - to solve a consumer's pain or a businesses nightmare. I recently read this great post by Pieter Eerlings, a Belgium-based entrepreneur who took his pain research to heart - and already has $1,000 in monthly recurring revenue.
Because he started a business to solve a pain.
Over the past two years, I've changed my view on which businesses to start. I like the idea of solving painful problems - regardless of the target market. This is why I started Gredio. I saw a problem and went out to find a solution. When I realized the current solutions didn't address small manufacturers, I went right to work building what I, and many other food producers wanted - a better tool to run their business.
Solving a problem is the foundation of many business plans. But, it's important to note that entrepreneurs aren't always out to solve a problem.
So, why start a business that doesn't solve a pain?
I don't think every business needs to solve a pain - that's just my current view. There are businesses that don't solve pains - they solve needs and wants. Think about why so many bakeries and chocolate makers are successful. They don't solve a pain or a problem. But they fill a need for chocolate and gluttonous goodies.
And it goes beyond food. The need may bloom from a positive experience (like buying your wife flowers) or a negative experience (like calling a plumber when there's a leak in your roof).
Once you recognize the need and get to work, you experience a whole new pain.
It's painful to start a business.
The irony of trying to solve a pain as an entrepreneur is that it's often painful to go through the process (which is why there are products and services to help company founders get through their first few years in start-up mode).
Starting a business takes a ton of time, energy, and other resources. You nix events from your social calendar in favor of business meetings. You dedicate your evenings to high-touch customer services in an attempt to keep the few customers you have.
It all comes down to this: you've got to love what you do. After all, not everyone loves to be a plumber. But there are those people who wake up every day excited to go to work. And you know what? That's not painful at all.
Passion drives many businesses, problem-solving or not. It's what keeps you going late at night and through the weekends. You'll have ups and downs, a roller-coaster of emotions, and sometimes, not much to show for it. And then you get your first paying customer.
Welcome to start-up life where sometimes, it's painful to solve a pain. And other times, it takes one click of the mouse to make you the happiest co-founder in the world.