Focus on problems not symptoms
Great solutions fix several issues that overlap
People will pay to solve real problems. If a person isn’t willing to pay to solve an issue, it's not a problem, it's a symptom.
Entrepreneurs must weed through the endless array of customer complaints, issues, & symptoms and distill these into root cause problems that can be addressed with business processes. While seemingly simple, this is the single hardest job for those looking to create a successful business with longevity.
Problem statements should be grounded in fact rather than hearsay. The strongest problem statements frame an issue around one single number or value. This focuses a debate of the business around that value, rather than a subjective claim on whether or not society will accept the business.
The problem statement is a jumping off point to test your customer and market segments on your way to a robust business solution.
A problem statement should be able to be completed in just a few words. Ask “why” questions to dig to find if you are discussing a symptom or an underlying problem.
A symptom statement will often sound like “It’s annoying that...” or “It’s frustrating when...”.
Problem statements are definite and leave the details to be discussed later. “Gasoline is >$4” is an example of a numbers based statement that leaves open a wide variety of solutions, allowing a business to attack that underlying reality, rather than one specific path.