StartUp Founders: Solve 1 Problem For 1 Person Amazingly

Are you building a solution because you see an opportunity in the market for someone else, or are you building a solution that you want and need, one that you could see value in?

There is an adage in the startup world that goes something like this: solve one problem for one person really well, and there’s probably a million other people that are experiencing that same problem. This statement rings true for so many successful startups that we know today. For instance, take Uber, which started as a solution to a specific problem faced by its founders: the difficulty of hailing a cab in San Francisco. The founders experienced the problem themselves, and the solution they built for themselves resonated with millions of other people worldwide.

This is why I often advise startup founders to look inward when they are exploring the business they are building. What problems have they encountered, what challenges, what issues in their everyday life? The best way to build something that can resonate with millions is to be customer number one. By being the recipient of the minimum viable product (MVP) and having experienced product-market fit (PMF), founders can gain a deep understanding of their target market’s needs.

The truth is, it’s much easier to be passionate and excited about a business idea when you’re building something that you believe in, something that solves a problem you have faced personally. This is why it’s important to ask yourself, “Who am I building this for?” Is it an opportunity in the market that you have identified for someone else, or is it a solution that you want and need yourself, something that you can see value in?

Entrepreneur and founder of Shopify, Tobi Lutke, understands the importance of this concept. He once said, “Build a product that you yourself love. Don’t worry about what the market is telling you; if you build something that you love, there’s a very good chance that many other people will love it too.”

When you are customer number one, you will be the most invested in the success of your product. You’ll have the most insight into what features and functionality are most critical to your target audience. You’ll also have a clearer vision of what success looks like for your business. By building something that you believe in, you’ll be able to drive your obsession into the market, fueling your passion and ensuring that you’re focused on building something that your customers truly need.

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