Be in the one percent....or die!

Ok so that sounds harsh, but seriously, ninety-nine percent of startups fail because they build the wrong product….so don’t do that. Be in the one percent of startups that uses feedback to build a product that customers actually want, or better yet, need.

 “Given one hour to save the planet, I would spend fifty-nine minutes understanding the problem and one minute resolving it.”

- Albert Einstein

Entrepreneurs love solutions. They eat sleep and breath innovative ways to alleviate consumer pain. This inherent drive to solve problems can be an entrepreneur’s largest competitive advantage or a lethal Achilles heel.

Problems worth solving need to be very well defined. During the conceptual stage of a business entrepreneurs should have a relentless focus on understanding and validating the problem before developing a solution. 

Lean startup methodology can be used to effectively explore and define problems. Create a hypothesis, run a test, learn, iterate then run the loop again as fast as possible. The more ambiguous the problem the faster the loop should run until definition is achieved.  

 There is often a solution in mind when testing the validity of a problem, and it is necessary to leave founder bias at the door during these exploration tactics. Let the market identify the pain point and do not skew responses by suggesting a potential remedy.

Ask “why” as many times as necessary to find the root of a problem. This technique is commonly known as the 5 Whys and outlines the cause and effect relationships that exist within problems.

Example problem: The vehicle will not start.

1.     Why? - The battery is dead. (first why)

2.     Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)

3.     Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)

4.     Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)

5.     Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule/ (fifth why, a root cause)

So this is one that you can make a conscious decision and choose – will you join the one percent...or will you die?


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