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Building a Product That Solves a Problem

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HGTV recently released its list of top problem-solving products for 2019. Among them were new items designed to do everything from reminding you if the dishes are clean to absorb the onion smell from your hands after you’re done chop-chopping.

The wide range is a reminder of just how creative problem-solving solutions should be to leave an impression. While we can’t do the work for you, we can give you a blueprint for how to make a product that puts you in the same problem-solving company. Let’s begin!

1. Define the Audience

We’re putting this one before defining the problem, though the problem may be the first thing that pops into your head. Even if it is, the first thing you need to do is switch from the idea to the people who are likely to use any finished product you might end up developing. 

Who are these people? How much does the issue get to them? Would they be willing to lay out money for your solution and, if so, how much? 

Getting a good idea of who your audience is will teach you a lot about how to approach your solution. And how to market it! 

2. Isolate the Problem

Think of the two examples we mentioned at the start of this article. A product that gets the onion stink out of your hands? How much more focused can you be?

This is called being narrow with the solution that your product presents. You don’t want a product that attempts to solve 50 different problems or else it probably won’t do any of them very well.

Try to state the business problem in two sentences or less. That’ll also be helpful when elevator-pitching potential investors

3. Recreate the Problem

You know the audience and you have an idea of the biggest problems they may be facing. Now it’s time to experiment. And there’s no better way of doing that than recreating the problem for yourself. 

Doing so will give you firsthand knowledge of the problem you’re attempting to solve. And it may even give you additional insight into what the final product needs to be.

When you’re doing this, make sure you look at existing products on the market. Studying what’s already out there will give you better ideas and teach you how to be a disruptor.

4. Visualize the Results

If you’re having trouble getting started, skip to the end. Try to visualize the emotional relief your customers will feel when they’ve seen your solution took care of their problem.

Now they’re holding your product in their hands, admiring it. What does the product look like? What specific component of it brought about the resolution? 

What other components needed to be in place for it to work the way that it did? This exercise is called reverse-engineering and it all starts with visualizing your success.

5. Write a Hypothesis

The very definition of problem-solving requires one to have a hypothesis in place of what you believe will work to solve the situation. Your hypothesis should take a stance and follow a series of steps to be “proven.” 

An important thing to understand in product development: it’s okay if your hypothesis is wrong. That’s because every outcome will bring you closer to the actual solution.

6. Take the First Step

So far, you’ve had a thinking problem. Now it’s time to think about what can you address immediately. When developing any hypothesis, you have to start thinking in terms of action steps.

After all, the only way to prove your hypothesis correct is to take steps toward working it out. So make a list of the things that will need to be done to prove your hypothesis right or wrong. Then, take the first one.

7. Assess What Is Working

By definition, a problem solver shouldn’t be in it to confirm his own biases but to get to the heart of the matter. What will work? What won’t?

He doesn’t live and operate in a world of feelings. He wants solutions. And that sometimes means finding out he’s on the wrong path.

When you’re developing a problem-solving product, take breaks to assess your progress. Make note of the outcomes you predicted as well as the ones that surprised you. 

8. Redefine the Problem As Needed

What you’ll run into looking at problems that need to be solved is that sometimes the problem needs to be redefined. It isn’t what you once thought it was when you were starting. 

Taking time to clarify and redefine the problem will get you closer to the solution. But that requires you to make some adjustments. 

9. Revise Your Game Plan

Some game plan revisions are small in nature. Others are massive overhauls. It takes a patient person to put in a lot of work only to find they’re on the wrong path and have to go back to the drawing board.

But sometimes that’s the reality. If it is, it is. Make however many revisions you have to until you’re getting the results that you envisioned. 

10. Seek the Right Talent

So far, we’ve been talking about proof-of-concept stuff. Prototyping. We’re not ready to turn this into a business until we’ve got one that works. 

Once you can create a product that solves a problem, it’s time to bring the right people together. You’ve got a great proof-of-concept. Now you need experts who’ll help you refine it and develop it further until it’s market-ready. 

11. Invest in Education

Continuing education is important for two reasons. First off, it keeps you from missing out on technological advancements that might render your product obsolete. Secondly, it teaches you how to do things more efficiently. 

Additionally, you’ll be able to better lead the people around you when it comes time to scale production, create marketing materials, promote, and fulfill. 

12. Follow Through

With a problem-solving product in place, it’s time to get it out there and let it start doing what it claims to do. People will speak with their wallets and through word-of-mouth. 

You can help it along by working to improve your product and outreach efforts. But ultimately, it’ll either provide value or it won’t. You won’t know which until you follow through with your plan and all the previous work.

Developing Problem Solving Products Is a Winning Business Strategy

Most problem-solving products that succeed do it because they’ve devised the most marketable way of providing a solution. They may not necessarily be the best, but they’re simple, practical, and do as promised. If you can deliver this type of product to the masses, then the sky is your limit. 

Best of luck! And if you’re ready to hack your business’s growth, contact Bear Fox Marketing today.