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4 insights to quickly identify real problems in your startup

When you’re building your startup, it’s important to identify problems early and often – use these checkpoints to make sure you’re on track.

Two men seated in a cafe working on their small business idea. One talks at the other while he types on his laptop.

If you’re contemplating launching a company, it’s crucial to comprehend the entrepreneurial landscape to enhance the chances of your startup’s success, especially considering the high failure rate among startups. According to a report from Startup Genome, a staggering 90% of startups face failure. Why?

One of the primary factors is that the mere existence of an idea does not ensure success, and the multitude of failed startups serves as evidence for this reality. In the presence of an untested concept, it becomes challenging to determine where to commence or if the idea holds any substantial value.

In essence, the crux isn’t only about ideas; it’s about identifying problems of significant magnitude that possess an existing substantial market (audience). Also, these problems are often found within extensive industries that are either undergoing new trends that amplify the problem or are emphasizing the problem’s importance.

So how do you find problems? Start by doing the little tasks the right way from the get-go. 

Cue the Google search. Open up your web browser and search for statistics or research related to the issue you’re addressing in your startup. Are there industry reports, insightful blog posts, or media articles discussing this problem?

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Engage with customers. Pinpoint the specific individuals who encounter this problem most frequently and connect with some of them. Initiate conversations with these individuals to gather insights about their firsthand experiences with the issue. Inquire about the frequency of the problem occurrence, its significance in their lives, whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a substantial challenge, and how they are currently managing to address it.

Customer observation: If the problem is visually evident, seek out prospective customers to observe. Request them to carry out their regular actions or routines that involve encountering the problem. Take note of any intriguing actions or statements you observe during this process.

Existence of other problem-solving attempts: After you’ve ensured that you’ve thoroughly assessed and validated the problem’s significance, explore whether there are existing solutions. This encompasses not only direct competitors but also any solutions customers are employing to tackle the problem. This analysis will aid you in identifying any gaps in the market.

Macie LaCau is a passionate writer, herbal educator, and dog enthusiast. She spends most of her time overthinking and watering her tiny tomatoes.


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