It doesn’t take an IQ of 160 to realize that the following formulas are generally true.
Solutions = Good
Problems = Bad
Being solution driven, as it pertains to a startup, or a founding team/individual is undeniably important. I find more often than not, individuals in the entrepreneurial realm will create reasons to not succeed, and find reasons to blame other people for their lack of success. They blame their failure on their development company, their founders, their funders, and even society. While we are at it, we might as well blame Facebook because they changed their page to a new layout!
This is an extremely lousy way to run a business in my opinion, and anyone who is coming up with an idea that they think they should take to market, really (and I emphasize REALLY) needs to focus on the solutions for their problem, instead of the problem itself. There is absolutely no reason that any product couldn’t be successful unless it’s just a flat out dumb idea, like that Snuggie thing that was created. You know that blanket with sleeves for your arms, oh wait, they sold over 30 million of those things! (I actually own a Snuggie, its wonderful) It’s a matter of identifying who the user base for your product is, what they want to do, and what you need to do to take it to market.
There are millions of published articles on what it takes to be a successful startup entrepreneur. Take the time to read some of them, see what other people have done, and learn from their mistakes. It really comes down to being solution driven. If you are failure driven, meaning that you are thinking about ways or reasons why you can’t do a certain thing, why it’s not working, or focusing on one miniscule feature of your mobile app that doesn’t work, well you are probably just doomed for failure!
I’ll give you sort of a personal case study. We had built a great application a couple of years ago that I was cofounder on, that worked great on Iphone and Android, but the Blackberry version was a bit more tricky. The founder felt that there was one key individual on the team who happened to have a Blackberry device, who simply had to have the Blackberry version of the application. While our founding team was 13 members, only one individual was still using a blackberry. The math should equate pretty standard for the rest of the world that less than 1% of our team was still using Blackberry.
We had spent so much time and energy catering to the minority who had the random phone on our team, that the project went into a spiral. The CEO decided that everything was wrong, everything was horribly built, everything was just atrocious, and all because we couldn’t cater to this one specific “fringe case” as I like to call it. This is a really good example of not being solution driven. We developed a quality application on the other platforms that went well, that people were using, and had thousands of downloads. However, the founder got caught up on the fact that there was a problem and continued to focus on the problem rather than looking at it from a solution driven mindset.
So what it boils down to is to is this; appreciate what you have, and take advantage of getting it out there to the market a true software product is never done. There is no reason at all why your startup can’t be successful if you are always focusing on what you have and what you can do, not what you can’t do. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always have plans to grow and expand your offering, as this is important too. Just remember to always focus on the positive and not the negative. Be solution driven!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR| GEOFFREY RADCLIFFE
Geoff Radcliffe is Raster Media's resident "jack-of-all-trades" by experience. Geoff is uniquely positioned to quickly understand not only the technical aspects of any business idea but the strategic implications of improving existing services or the long term success strategies of a new startup. Follow Geoff via Twitter @radcliffe001 Find Geoff on Google