Don’t Think Apps, Think Problems

I recently met an aspiring entrepreneur who was pitching me this brilliant idea for a mobile app he was working on and he was super pumped about it. He went on and on about all the features they were going to roll out and why there is currently nothing on the market like what he was building.

This happens all the time, so I asked him two questions: what problem are you solving? Who are you solving the problem for? He apparently didn’t have an answer to either. So, my advice to him was simple; rather than waste time, effort and money building tech nobody is going to use (he was non-technical). He should identify what problem he is solving and validate if the problem exists.

So, two quick lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.

  1. Identify and validate the problem: go out there and talk to people, figure out if they have that problem, and find out how they currently solve it. You can either build a product that solves a problem or build a product then go search for the problem your product can solve. I recommend you do the former
  2. Build a Minimum Viable product: Don’t be quick to think that an MVP is an app or a website. It’s basically anything that allows you to validate your assumptions. E.g. If you want to solve the problem of finding schools for parents, rather than spend money or time building an app with a search functionality, why not create a google form for parents to fill in the type of schools they are looking for and send out to all the parents you and your friends know. When the responses come in, manually look for those schools and send 3 matching schools to each request and ask the parents to allow you to handle the booking process and pay you a small fee. This is just an example of how you can test the proposed solution.

Whatever you are doing now or intend to do, make sure your startup idea solves a problem. Don’t start a business to build an app but rather to solve a pain people are experiencing.