What could she do about this?
A young psychologist explained that she regularly did government-funded assessment tests on very young children with potential learning disorders.
The process troubled her. If the child had a learning difficulty this left the teacher (and the parents) with the knowledge, but no strategies to deal with it in the classroom and at home.
How did he position his offers online?
A middle-aged entrepreneur with a high profile in sales and marketing, organisational and property development, training and speaking was starting his own business. He had so much to offer but couldn’t articulate clearly what it was he did, or wanted to do, or for whom.
How could she gain control of her website?
A woman starting an innovative business in chemical-free cleaning to assist with asthma and other respiratory diseases in the home, had her website hosted by a networking colleague. After a while, he no longer returned her calls. She couldn’t access details of either her domain registration or her hosting environment.
This didn’t trouble her, until she learned she couldn’t use her website to build a passionate army of advocates to sell her chemical-free cleaning message.
Identifying a problem is a privilege
The point of these three scenarios is less how the problems were or could be solved and more how they came to be articulated. While each person may have been able to present the problem, the wider solution seemed distant or daunting.
Like many busy people getting on with their working lives, it was easier to put these concerns to one side.
In each of these and countless similar scenarios, a successful solution could have a powerful impact on their businesses, their futures and potentially, the lives of thousands of others.
What if the mountain of knowledge the young psychologist and her colleagues were sitting on could be translated into individual posts, each with a strategy for these learning difficulties?
How could they build their database to deliver these posts virally and create a community of supportive teachers and parents? How many children might benefit from the right teaching strategies at an early age?
Privilege is bestowed as a result of trust
People don’t volunteer their vulnerabilities. It’s a privilege to engage in a conversation that leads you to clarifying a problem and offering a solution.
The first part of gaining trust is to understand who suffers the problems you can solve. You’re not going to gain trust applying a tourniquet to someone who’s suffered a heart attack.
In addition, business owners who jam their shelves full of every solution to every problem are likely to find this retail approach to acquiring custom costly and for little or random return.
The research part
Ask everyone. Ask them what they need, not what they want. Ask them what do they think their problems are. Ask your existing customers, your suppliers, your contacts, your database. Ask open ended questions, (questions to which the answer can’t be Yes, No or Maybe). Compile a spreadsheet of the responses to identify the most common problems you’re able to solve.
Become a problem solver beyond solving the problem
Widen your ideas. Think about what you can solve as the potential to change, make a difference and benefit all the stakeholders. It’s one thing to regain control of a website for someone, it’s another to identify strategies for creating a community to positively impact children suffering from asthma.
The reward as much or more than the money in the bank, is the difference you can make.
This post,’Can I Solve Your Problem?’, is part of the monthly Word Carnival hosted by Tea Silvestre, Word Chef.. This month the topic is: Market Research: Finding Out What Your Ideal Customers Really Really Want.