Does Your Venture Solve a Problem?

The question comes up: How can student teams compete well at competitions such as e-Fest and the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge?

As you think about your undergraduate student team and venture ideas for your e-Fest submission, we would like to share some sage advice from Paul Taylor, one of our EIX Editors and a “serial mentor” to startups and successful business competition teams.

When Paul advises new teams and helps with venture concepts, he emphasizes the need for “a clear problem statement that identifies a real pain point.” This is how people will relate to your proposal.

Example:  “Web pages have lots of data. The problem is the difficulty in converting data into actionable information. The solution is…”

So, how do we know if our idea really solves a problem or creates an opportunity?

Answer: Ask people, do your research, validate your ideas, and test your message.

Some pointers from Paul

  1. Seek out the “Voice of the Customer (VOC)” to validate the problem statement hypothesis.
  2. Make sure the VOC input is broad in nature and includes several viewpoints.
  3. Test the problem statement by repeating it to others to ensure that it is understandable and confirm that a solution to the problem has tangible benefit.

Part 1 of 6 Part Series with EIX.org Editor and Serial Startup Mentor Paul Taylor

In our next post, we discuss how to articulate that your solution solves the problem you’ve identified. It’s all about communication!