So, you think you found a problem and you are offering the solution. You think you came up with a great business idea! And yet, nobody buys it. What went wrong in your assessment?

The answer came from a veteran entrepreneur who provided me with the perfect example. He informed me that he tried to solve a real problem school bus drivers (or rather school managers) have. Since gasoline is their main expense, he offered an innovative way to cut down the cost. He made an app that would inform the parent that the school bus approaches the house, so that the child is ready to go the minute the bus arrives.

You probably think that the school managers queued up to get the app. This is not what happened. The entrepreneur, then, decided to test his original hypothesis. He conducted a few customer development interviews that indicated towards another direction. It looks like the schools were eager to save gasoline. The problem, though, was not the waiting time outside the house; instead, it was the bus drivers’ bad habit to steal the gasoline from the school’s bus!

It is obvious that the entrepreneur located a real problem. However the problem was not very high up in the priorities of the customer. The customer development made obvious another, more urgent need that needed to be covered.

Bottom line, it is important not only to find a problem to solve but also to rate its significance through the eyes of the customer. Only then do you stand a good chance to create a viable business.

For more information on lean startup methodology, you could take a look at my other blog posts.

An Entrepreneur’s (Permanent) Failure

How Can you Come Up with a New Business Idea?

Best Social Media for Lean Startups

3 Lean Principles to Live By

Why Personal Branding is Essential for Lean Startups?

Direct Benefits from Customer Development

Common Excuses to Avoid Customer Development

Simple Pricing Strategies for your Products or Services, the Lean Way

The No. 1 Mistake New Entrepreneurs Make

“How to Get 10000 of Facebook Likes”. Is this the Lean Way to Start a Business?

9 Basic Lean Words you Need to Know.

Lean Methodology and Growth Hacking Combined

Image Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_school_bus.jpg