• Sara Harrod

Do you know what problem you solve for your customers?

Being clear on and understanding what is keeping your customers up at night, what is making them toss and turn with worry and stress, is critical to your business success. It can be all to easy to get caught up in your own vision for your business, but remember to not lose sight of what it is your customers want and need and how you meet those needs. Once you know what your target audience’s biggest problems and pain points are, you can start to work out how your services best resolve this for them. You can do this by developing a problem a statement.



What is a problem statement?


A problem statement is a simple and concise sentence or two the defines the problem faced by a customer and what the solution looks like. By defining the problem, it helps to put it into context and gives you a starting point for developing the solution. It will help convey what needs to change and the change you are looking to make within your customer’s business.



How do I figure out what problem I solve for my customers?


The best way to figure out the problem you solve for your customers is through research. Start by going back over your previous customers and understand what motivated them to come to you. If you are a professional services business for instance, it is likely that you will be able to look back over old call notes or consultation meeting minutes where you may have jotted down what it was they were struggling with and what motivated them to finally seek out help. Alternatively, reach out to your network of contacts and interview them about what their biggest worry is right now. They will no doubt be grateful to talk through their problem with another business professional, particularly one who may be able to help them.


Develop your problem statement


Once you have your research or your interview responses, it is likely that you will see some commonality in the problems. You can then look to group these together into themes. There may be multiple solutions to multiple problems that you can offer, but I would recommend starting with one or two and do these really well to be known for it, before branching out to too many. For each of your problem areas you need to understand the following:


Problem – be able to explain the problem in its current state.

Who – Who are the people affected by this problem?

Impact – What is the impact of the problem?

Solution – What is your proposed solution?


Once you have the above elements you can formalise your problem statement in the following template:


The problem of , affects , the impact of which is , so an appropriate solution for this is .


How to write an effective problem statement


  • Be concise – Don’t over complicate the problem and stick to the important facts.

  • Use simple language – Avoid jargon and confusing language as you need your target audience to understand how you can solve their problem.

  • Focus on people – Keep it human and people focused as the problem may be something physical or technical but it is still causing your audience stress and worry which is a very human impact.

Example of a problem statement


Netflix:

Problem: "Going to the video store requires fighting traffic, wandering the aisles and waiting in long lines just to get a single movie."

Solution: "Netflix allows anyone to enjoy thousands of titles streamed directly to their home”


Armed with this information you should now be able to start your journey to figuring out your customer pain points and developing your problem statements.




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