I was recently answering the question, “What is the best first step for a startup?”
My answer is simple. The best first step for a startup is to identify your customer’s problem. That’s it.
To do this you’ll need to talk to customers. A lot of them. You should be your own customer.
An intimate understanding of the customer’s problem is a prerequisite to actually solving it. Seems obvious but you’d be surprised how often people start elsewhere (I was one of them!).
Talking to customers provides incredible insight. You’ll understand who they are. What problems they have. How they hack a solution today. You’ll emerge from those conversations with a hypothesis on how you can solve their problem(s) and provide them value. Test that hypothesis, learn, and iterate.
If you aren’t solving the customer’s problem then you aren’t building something people value. Something they’ll love and use. Without that, you don’t have much of a business.
The concept is simple. The execution is hard.