Businesses sell solutions to external problems. This could be anything from a mechanic who will fix your faulty car to a shop that sells you an umbrella to keep you dry. Those that provide solutions to problems previously unsolved, are especially inclined to achieve success!
Apple didn’t really achieve cut through until Steve Jobs came to the realisation that many people were intimidated by computers. This feeling of intimidation is a personal issue, which makes it an internal problem.
Computers were seen as the domain for computer geeks, too complicated and intimidating for the average person.
Steve Jobs simplified the interface making it more usable for the average person. Apple’s marketing projected a brand of fun, cool looking people who used Apple products to take photos, listen to music, create amazing graphics and even the more mundane creating spreadsheets and writing articles. He made people feel that they too could use a computer, or at least an Apple computer! He combined this message with unique, cool looking computers and other products to create an incredibly large and loyal client base! He broke down the barrier for many in using computers. He solved an internal problem for many!
What does this all mean for you? Look beyond solving an external problem and consider the potential internal problems associated with your product or service. Let say you are a mechanic. The external problem is a faulty car, or a car that needs its compliance checked. The internal problem? An individual getting around to calling to make the appointment, getting an appointment time that works and getting the car there for the service! These are all reasons why a person may delay for some time getting their problem solved.
What say as a mechanic you are different? Your clients have your app which reminds them when their next service is due and allows them to make the booking on it. You could go even further and incorporate a free pickup service as part of the app.
As a consumer which are you going to choose? A mechanic with the traditional approach where organising the appointment is all the clients problem, or the mechanic (for a similar price), makes it really easy for you to know when your car is due for a service or compliance check and enables you to book an appointment over an app. With the latter mechanic, it is no longer a big deal to arrange to get your car serviced. If they included a pickup service, then that really would be the icing on the cake and a real game changer!
If you want to beat the competition, don’t just solve their external problem(s), solve their associated internal problem(s) and you will have market advantage! Want to do this? Then you need to get into the mind of your potential customers, understand their journey and solve their problems!