Discover more from Unearth
4 step framework to find a solution to a problem
Issue 2🪜: Nail down the problem you're trying to solve with your product.
Hey everyone👋, welcome to the 7th newsletter.
Before you build any product, you need to know why you're building it, how will your product help make people's lives easy, what problem is your product solving, and know if that product is even needed?
“True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.” — Mark Manson
I understood this 👆🏻 quote when I was building a marketing tool and stoped in the middle because I no longer find joy building it, along with that I didn’t figure out exactly what problem I was solving.
Whichever stage you start with, it may be updating your product or building a new project, knowing the problem will help you build a product worth solving.
Why do you need to know what problem does your product solves?
It gives you a clear picture of what product to build.
You'll know where to start from & set features by priorities.
Knowing what the problem is will help you understand what solution will work. For example: how to get rid of migraines? Eating products, software products, or physical products. Which way are you solving the problem of people with migraines?
If you don't have any reason to solve the problem with your product you won't enjoy building it.
A big no-no when considering a solution for the problem:
❌ Changing the design or just adding a different feature from your competitor's product.
❌ Thinking that your product will be better than your competitor’s merely based on small changes or you thinking differently.
🪜My framework for problem-solving:
I ask myself these 4 questions each time I’m starting any project or adding a new feature:
How would you describe a problem?
How did you find that there is a problem?
Is it a real problem or an illusion?
How do you think you can solve this problem & in what way?
Knowing what problem you’re solving helps build a clear vision. If you have a clear vision, you’ll be able to create a great strategy and if you have a strategy planned out it’s easy to execute, measure your growth & make better decisions.
🏊🏻 Let’s dive deep into each stage
This framework should be very concise, don’t overwork on it & keep the statement small & to the point.
In my case, it’s not worth it to move on to designing & developing part of the product before I can clearly see my vision & the problem I’m trying to solve. Without the problem, it’s easy to get lost, make mistakes & I see a very slow growth of my product.
How would you describe the problem?
This is a very important statement if you misunderstood the problem it can lead to product failure. Keep the statement brief so you or your team can quickly get the gist of it each time.
This is the foundation of your product so spent some time drafting it. Your aim should be to understand the problem with one sentence. The more you explain it, the less clear it gets.
What do you see the problem is?
How would you define it?
Why did this problem occurred? Sometimes its hard to find the history of problem but it's good to go in the core and see how it's been previously solved (your competitors).
Focus on one problem, there are times when a single problem has multiple problems. Knowing which problem to solve first will help attract the users along with connecting dots to future solutions.
Through this, you'll find the solution your users actually need.
Here's a statement:
Hard to keep track (and visualize the path) of embedded items which helps build a framework (or a learning process) in form of a playlist. [So, this is the problem statement of my new product. Anyone interested to discuss about it, find me here -> Twitter.]
Statements like these won't work:
❌ ABC signup process is complicated, I’ll make it seamless with better onboarding.
❌ The problem of few signups & slow growth.
How did you find that there is a problem?
What convinced you that this is the problem you need to solve? There needs to be a way you discovered this problem. There might be some people or you yourself who felt like this is a problem you can solve. Show & collect some evidence.
You cannot build a product just because you see a competitor lacking some features or have a problem with its product or you think the other way to solve the problem is better.
Fill the gaps by collecting evidence & talking to people.
The data you've collected will help a lot in making decisions. Which way to go, the real problem, users, marketing, etc.
Now the evidence shouldn't be a pile of pages, but a very few that can give you quality & quantitative points to fill the blanks. If too many people want it then you have several competitors, how you'll stand against them. And if you don't see much demand, then why do you think it's a problem & the other why's.
Is it a real problem or an illusion?
After the above steps, sometimes you realize the problem isn't worth solving or the way you're thinking is not working.
With an entrepreneurial mindset, you'll discover several problems a day. And that’s good. But thinking that you are the one to solve all of them & immediately start working on the plan to develop it, is just a waste of time.
You'll realize later on that either you're bored with it or you're just not confident solving this problem.
I get several topic ideas which I want to include in my newsletter but when I start writing about it, I realize it's not the core of my newsletter, I don't have much evidence about it & it's not worth my time. So, I leave it in the draft.
How do you think you can solve the problem & in what way?
This is the final step. If you've reached here, you are confident enough about the problem you’re solving & you know the right way to solve & build it.
Now it’s the time to brainstorm in all possible forms you can solve the problem.
Sometimes talking to people & knowing how they would like the problem to be solved can give you some clues. That's why feedbacks in the early stages are really important. Talk to people.
You need to understand the problem first hand, which can be done by talking to the people and the best way to do so is by encouraging them to talk more about their problem.
Returning to the problem:
As the scope and complexity of the product grows, we have to keep repeatedly remaining ourselves with what is the core problem we are solving.
When I was building WorkMap, I was focused on building a platform to share & discover quality content. When the product was built I realized that with the core problem I also build few things (banners, etc.) that weren’t related to the problem. Hence, I wasted my time on building things that weren’t required.
We count to solve more problems without holding from where we started. That's the part when we have to return back to the original problem and think in that way.
“If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head.” ―Mark Manson
Problem is everywhere in your daily life, work-life, team problems, etc. When you're solving a new product problem, think just like how you solve a regular problem. How do you solve weight gain problems, eating problems, getting the task done problem, finding a new apartment, etc?
Until next time! 👋
👋 PS: I’m Ritika founder, product marketer and advisor for early-stage startups, find more here or connect with her here. If you’re a first-time founder looking for curated resources, download here. If you enjoyed this post, read the past issues here. You can also promote your product in this newsletter.
A big thanks for reading & sharing!