Identifying Problems & Solutions

Your product (or offering) needs to be a solution to a problem your customers (or prospects) have. We call it a product, but this includes services and experiences, as well. Anything that you do to solve the problem could be considered an offering. Customers and prospects see high value in what you offer to the extent that you’re able to solve their problem.

Starbucks Case
An example of how companies provide solutions to problems is Starbuck’s. Howard Shultz built a huge company by understanding a simple problem we all have and providing a solution. And it’s just not getting a good cup of coffee. Shultz traveled all over the world to understand why people in other countries spend so much time and money in coffee houses and he uncovered a universal problem: what he ultimately called the third place problem, ie, a place to meet outside of the home or office for a meeting, a date or just being alone.

He conceptualized his brand and his product offering, as a place to go for “a cup of coffee,” as in, let’s meet at Starbucks for “a cup of coffee.” The design and location were all geared to creating a “third place.” In this sense, providing great coffee was a necessary component of a larger solution: renting space under the auspices of providing coffee. Whether you or I know that’s the offering, we see in these tables and chairs, the perfect place to meet. By understanding a problem that people have, he created something with tremendous perceived value at a low cost of acquisition.

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