If There’s No Pain, There’s No Pain Point

‘It has been said that creative entrepreneurs possess high levels of energy and great degrees of perseverance and imagination. This, combined with the willingness to take moderate, calculated risks, enable them to transform what often began as a simple, ill-defined idea into something concrete.’

Well, the above sentence is a true definition of me—a highly energized individual with a simple ill-defined idea.

When I was starting off as an entrepreneur, I thought that all I needed to do to make it big was to have a ‘killer’ business idea, a chic office and a contagious optimistic attitude.

With that in mind, I wrote my ultimate checklist.

  • Upmarket location in the posh leafy suburbs of Kilimani, close to Yaya Centre? Check.
  • Boardroom with slick one-way glass windows? Check.
  • Visible popping signage right next to the lift? Check.
  • Website up and running? Check
  • Logo, look and feel ‘thingy’? Check.
  • Printed office stationery? Check.
  • Teal coloured company stamp and seal? Check.

The result? There I was, ‘freshly-minted-entrepreneur’, a glitzy-glam office—and loads of optimism to match. What could possibly go wrong?

I soon discovered that being an optimist isn’t all that rosy. One study found that while most successful entrepreneurs will call themselves optimists, optimistic entrepreneurs earn 30% less than pessimistic ones on average.

Lesson No 1:

If there’s no real pain, there’s no real pain point!

The main reason why I wanted to be an entrepreneur was to control how I spent my time. Yes, and there was also that side point of actually being relevant to my customer base. But really, I never put a lot of work into actually making a difference to someone else’s life or business. So, apart from serving my personal needs, there was no reason for my company to exist.

Lesson No 2:

It’s not about how good the business looks like but about how good it makes the customer look. While understanding that your business idea is remarkable is a good start, it is the knowledge of where you are most notable with the customer that will bring the money in.

So next time you come up with a ‘unique’ business idea, ask yourself—What is your unique selling point? What differentiates you from your competition? Do you have a truly disruptive idea that will change your customers’ world for better?

Note to future self.

I will focus more on the business strategy. I will spend more time researching the market space, knowing who my potential customers might be, where they can be found, what they look like, sound like and, what is their pain point?

One of the best ways to discover the real pain point is to experience that pain point myself. Once I identify that—then I can work on a solution for them and highlight that point in my written materials and networks.

For example: as an entrepreneur, I understand how tough it is to market a product without dishing out big cash to the big Ad Boys and Ad Girls.

I know that sometimes SMEs are left with little choice but to come up with their own disastrous patched up marketing campaigns that either hit (read: painfully bad ads) or miss the target audience.

Solution? My company offers superb digital marketing services to SMEs at unbelievably affordable rates, and with very short lead times.

It’s a problem that doesn’t need a lot of explaining, which means the solution doesn’t take convincing. SMEs just get it.

If there’s a real problem that I want to solve in the market, my solution will be tangible enough to get noticed. So I should stop wasting time and money embellishing (look it up) the office and get to work figuring out how to sort out the customers!