"Am I really solving a meaningful problem, or am I too attached to my idea?"

Solving a Real Problem as Startup Founder

The key is to actively seek unbiased feedback, be open to change, and focus on solving problems that are validated by real-world demand

Dec 2023

The question of whether founders are really solving a meaningful problem or if they are just overly attached to their idea haunts many founders. I find it particularly comes up when progress is slower than expected. It reflects your deep-seated fear that your vision, however passionately pursued, might not actually align with a real-world need or market demand.

Which can be true because we all fall for confirmation bias and emotional attachment. We often become deeply attached to their ideas, which can lead to confirmation bias—seeking out information that supports our beliefs and overlooking contradictory evidence. This emotional attachment can cloud your judgment, making it difficult to objectively assess the viability and necessity of your solution.

The encouraging part of that is, just because the solution we have right now doesn’t’ mean that there isn’t’ a problem space to be explored and that the people we want to serve aren’t looking yfo a solution. It just means that your solution might not be it, yet.

The dangerous part though id, the longer we have invested time, money, and effort into an idea, the harder it becomes to let go or change direction, even in the face of contradictory evidence. This is known as the sunk cost fallacy, where past investments unduly influence decisions about the future. But you can mitzigate for that

The core of this dilemma whether you are solving a meaningful problem is called market validation—determining whether the product or service is something that customers truly want or need. As a founder you will struggle with determining if you are pushing a solution for a problem that doesn't exist or isn't significant enough for customers to pay for a solution.

How you do find market validation or product market fitness is by iterative learning and adjusting and pivoting. Startups are about testing hypotheses. As a founder you must be open to learning from customer feedback, market reactions, and other indicators. This might mean pivoting from the original idea to something more aligned with market needs. The challenge is to do this without feeling like you're giving up on your original vision.

The key is to actively seek unbiased feedback, be open to change, and focus on solving problems that are validated by real-world demand. It starts with regularly stepping back to reassess the market fit and being honest about the feedback and data is.

How do you relate to this challenge?
Are there specific strategies or experiences you've encountered that have helped you navigate this uncertainty?

Dec 2023
Latest Update
Ready? Set. Growth!
Learn about growing your organization and the impact of its mission and other insights & stories about Customer-centricity and Organic Growth: