Why you should start with a problem not a solution

Start with a problem before a solution and you’ll be on your way to finding product market fit in no time.

Why start with a problem?

The easiest mistake to make is starting with a solution and trying to find a problem that it solves. If your product does not solve a problem then your product does not have a market. Therefore, the first step in your product journey is to frame the problem that needs to be solved. If you have a product in mind, consider if you derived that from thinking of a solution or a product first?

“Your solution can only be as good as your understanding of the problem”

This allows you to naturally overcome confirmation bias. You may think that you have a great idea for a product, but once you establish the underlying problem, your reasoning may be exposed. Further, this allows you to determine the foundations behind your business. What is the basic need? What is the desired outcome? Who stands to benefit, and why?

Start with a problem, find a solution, and you’ve taken your first steps to a successful, sustainable, product-based business.

Looking for the perfect resource to help you get started with ideating, sourcing and ordering your next product? Check our Product HQ!

Product HQ user journey


Examples always help when explaining concepts! Therefore, we will be using the example of a bicycle turn signal throughout this dashboard to make the concepts easier and more comprehensible to follow.

Let’s say you want to sell a bicycle light because you’ve noticed the popularity of bike riding has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this case, you are identifying bicycle lights as a good product simply because demand has increased. You think that you can sell more lights simply because demand for bikes has increased. This is a solution-first approach. The solution-first mindset is natural and easy, but it won’t serve you well in forming a sustainable business. Whilst increased demand may be a driver to the success of your product, failing to recognize the underlying problem will harm the long-term success of your product and company.

So what is the problem? Whilst the problem could be a range of factors, by taking a step back, it is apparent that the predominant problem here is rider safety. Riders use bicycle lights because it improves the safety of their ride. They can see things clearer, they are seen clearer, and it provides an extra level of comfort and control to their ride.

A standard bicycle light is a solution to this problem of safety. However, having established the problem (rider safety), you can dive deeper into the solutions on offer. Could you create a product that offers more safety than a standard bicycle light?

Want to learn more about finding the best problem to solve and mapping a solution to a product to sell? Product HQ provides you with a host of resources, databases and guides to help you establish ideas, prototype and development your next product!

Product HQ is a Notion dashboard to ideate, source and order your next product. The idea behind it was to hold entrepreneurs’ hands through the lengthy process of getting a product to market, from ideating and designing to sourcing and ordering it.

Product HQ

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The Notion dashboard that helps you ideate, source, and order your product. Get started with Product HQ today! https://theproducthq.com

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The Product HQ

The Notion dashboard that helps you ideate, source, and order your product. Get started with Product HQ today! https://theproducthq.com