The Faster Horse
Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘Faster Horses.’” This provides valuable insight to the mindset and thinking involved with launching a successful business venture. Henry Ford was the first to mass-produce the automobile at a time filled with large changes in modes of transportation. For centuries Americans relied on the horse for their transportation. The idea here is that consumers always want something ‘better’ but do not necessarily know what ‘better’ actually is.
When searching for a business idea entrepreneurs should learn to be observant and focus on customer pain points. For example, in the early 20th century transportation was too slow. There are two main ways in which you can focus on customer pain paints: 1) In a broad sense across any industry or 2) narrowly examine a focused industry/product.
Remember we are looking for problems and pain points in services and products that consumers see. One approach to finding these ideas is to sit back, observe, and reflect on products/services in any industry. This involves skimming across many different products to find pain points. In order to find a pain point in a broad sense like this begin asking people questions like,
• What recent purchase have you regretted the most?
• What is a great product that has some glitches or annoying features?
• Tell me about a recent bad experience you’ve had recently with a product or service?
Asking people questions like these will allow you to scan across a broad range of ideas then focus in on one specific pain point found in a product or service.
Examine a Specific Industry/Product
You may already have an expertise in a certain industry or field and would like to continue working in that field. A narrowly focused examination of customer pain points within that industry will lead you to entrepreneurial opportunities. Ask questions such as,
• If you could change anything about [the product], what would it be?
• Hypothetically if you could do anything different with [the product], what would do?
• What keeps you from buying or fully utilizing [the product]?
These type of questions will allow you to focus on one specific industry/products and come to some real conclusions about what could be done differently. These changes and variations will be your next entrepreneurial venture.
Think Small, Big Results
Often, the best entrepreneurial ideas are not brand new, cutting edge ideas but instead are simple improvements to a previous idea. When brainstorming, it is best to restrain or constrain your creative thinking, or in other words narrow the scope. These approaches allow you to be observant to current trends, markets, and ideas then constrain your thinking to find simple improvements or even a brand new, cutting edge idea. By thinking small you can find a magnificent idea that will lead to big results and your own entrepreneurial success. Like Henry Ford implied, we must not think like the consumer but instead understand the consumer’s problems and be thinking ahead of the consumer.