The very best business advice I’ve ever received

There’s a lot of business advice out there. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

I can’t think of better advice than this: Solve a problem.

It seems almost too simple but I can’t think of a better way to start and grow a business than simply to solve a problem.

Every successful business solves a problem. Sure, the problems that each business solves may vary in its severity and impact on our lives but they still solve a problem. The local donut shop solves a very different problem than a life insurance company, and you could argue that the problem solved by a donut shop isn’t quite as severe or impactful as the problem solved by insurance.

This simple business advice has 3 specific applications, at least one of which will apply to you right now and can help grow your business dramatically:


  1. Your business doesn’t solve a problem. If your business is struggling, there’s a chance that you don’t actually solve a problem. Perhaps you’ve started a business that is more of a passion project or hobby, and you might even have a couple of customers come in who share the same interest. But if you don’t have enough customers, you might not actually solve a problem. Can youarticulate what problem you solve? If you can’t, take a look at the customers who have come through the door and the reasons that they buy.
  2. You don’t know what problem you solve. Hopefully you do solve a problem. If your customer base is inconsistent and it fluctuates in terms of both income and profitability then there’s a good chance that you solve a problem but don’t really know what that problem is. Ask your customers why they buy from you.
  3. You don’t effectively communicate the problem or the solution. Often, marketing is focused on what you do rather than the problem and your solution. (This is the classic features-versus-benefits problem that exists in a lot of marketing). It’s common but, fortunately, it’s also the easiest to solve of the three I’ve listed here. Your marketing needs to hammer home the problem and establish its severity to your audience, and then your marketing needs to build a case for why your solution provides the best value to them. (And if you’re already doing this then it’s just a matter of doing more of it and doing itbetter.

If you want to grow your business (and what business owner doesn’t???) then one of these 3 actions will apply to you.