Marcel Proust wrote that the real act of discovery consist it in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.
Entrepreneurs see what others see, but with new eyes. They see people struggling to produce great photos and create Instagram.
They watch their sister succumb to breast cancer and found the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
They see the eye ware industry being controlled by a single player who charges exorbitant prices and creates Warby Parker.
They see the need for inexpensive but highly effective home security and create Ring.
I can go on.
The point is, entrepreneurs see with new eyes. And so can you.
Here’s the thing. People don’t buy products and services. They are buying a specific outcome.
We need our hair clean so we buy shampoo.
Some need to rid themselves of embarrassing dandruff so they buy Head and Shoulders. It’s the simplest solution for many.
Some want their hair to bounce. So they purchase product that they believe will achieve this goal.
Carpenters need to place holes in walls from time to time. They have a hole problem. So they buy something that will solve that problem – a drill. Who knows, maybe some type of laser will do it better in the future. Huh, that’s an idea right there.
The point is, people buy outcomes. And these outcomes often present themselves as problems needing to be solved.
See, the best products solve a problem, alleviate some pain, or reduce some frustration.
Spanx solved a fashion problem for millions of women. The outcome they wanted was a smooth looking butt when they put on their jeans or a slim waist when they put on a tight dress.
The dollar shave club solved a grooming problem for millions of men – especially as it relates to price.
Now, not all problems are created equally. We know that. Still, by training yourself to spot these problems you open up a world of possibilities.
Okay, I want you to remember three things: product, people, and process.
There are product problems. In other words, the current slate of products doesn’t produce the desired outcome. It could be a design issue or just an overall bad product – meaning, it doesn’t work at all.
There are people problems. Your accountant isn’t up on creative but legal ways to save on taxes. Or customer service sucks at your doctor’s office. Perhaps better training might be the answer. So a training company is in order.
See where I’m going.
There are process problems. The process for securing a home loan might be too complicated. Maybe AI can solve that issue or moving more of the process online might do it. Think Quicken. I think they’re called Rocket Mortgage now. Maybe it’s another company.
See, wherever there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity.
Okay, here’s your homework: get a notebook or note app. Next, whenever you use a product, ask, how can the outcome be improved? Is the handle too big or too small? Are the ingredients trash? Is the sound coming from the earphones not loud enough? Is it tingy.
Get it? The key is to ask questions as you come into contact with products you use.
Do the same for people and processes.
Take really good notes.
For now, that’s all you want to do. The goal is to train yourself to ask better and better questions. Better questions lead to creative solutions.
Keep at it and soon, you will awaken the entrepreneur inside.