On Thursday, Aug 11th, over 45 students from 30 countries gathered in a remote resort tucked into the beautiful countryside of Lithuania.
And they learned the value of ONE simple, yet important question. More about that in a second, and how that one question led to a unique business idea to serve college students in Poland…
But first, a little more about the camp.
The students were there to learn how to build a business from scratch, and I was lucky enough to be one of the instructors, along with my business partner Matt Smith, and our friend Simon Black.
Simon runs a website called, www.SovereignMan.com, and here’s what he wrote about our experiences teaching the students…
“Despite all the economic troubles in the world, though, I’m extraordinarily optimistic for the future…I just concluded our 2nd annual Liberty and Entrepreneurship youth camp— a five day event where my business partners and I put a group of students from all over the world through an intensive, hands-on ‘value creation laboratory.’
“We believe that whenever there are problems in the world, there are always opportunities to solve those problems and create value; we took the students through practical exercises in how to spot these opportunities. This included things like developing credible business plans without making the common rookie mistakes that drive most businesses into the ground.
“The camp culminated in a series of group presentations about actual business ideas they had come up with… and to be honest with you, every single one of them was impressive…creative solutions to problems that actually have serious potential.”
The process of creating these business ideas was not easy, as you certainly know.
During the two afternoons the students had to work on their ideas, there was a sense of growing frustration in a few of the groups.
One group of girls in particular was really struggling. They had gone back and forth on a few ideas, but none of them really stuck. They had no passion for any of the ideas, and disappointment was turning into frustration.
I was getting a little worried…after all, a group of five frustrated girls could be a real powder keg for disaster.
And I hated to see them frustrated. Heck, I hate to see or hear about any business owner being frustrated or struggling.
Now don’t forget, I struggled for years to turn my business ideas into reality.
But I had a breakthrough, as did these students, and so can you, once you answer this ONE question.
I sat down with the girls after lunch on the 2nd day, and not just because the girls had chocolate.
We went through their current idea and we agreed to scrap it.
But with time running out until their presentation was due, panic was starting to set in.
So we went back to square one.
And I asked them,
“What problem are you solving?”
That’s the ticket.
Take a look at some of the most successful businesses and inventions in history.
Google solved the problem of being able to find stuff quickly and easily on the web.
Apple solved the problem of being able to put all of your CD’s onto one device that fit into your pocket.
Domino’s solved the life-threatening problem of getting hot, fresh pizza delivered to your doorstep in 30 minutes or less.
So what problem are you solving?
If your business is struggling, it’s possible you haven’t spent enough time figuring out your client’s biggest problem that your product can solve.
Worse, you might be forcing your product on the marketplace without adequately addressing your client’s problems.
That’s a big business killer right there, and I see it all the time with new websites.
When I told the girls to identify a problem to solve, everything “clicked”. They got it. They understood why all their other ideas were failing.
In fact, they were so excited they rewarded me with a piece of chocolate and sent me on my way so they could get down to work.
Entrepreneurs solve problems.
They create solutions other people want.
They add value and receive compensation in return.
They don’t force ideas on the marketplace.
They don’t create “me too” products without innovation.
So here’s what this group of girls did…it’s a pretty cool, small idea that really does solve a problem.
They created a company that solves a problem among Polish University students who run out of alcohol late at night.
I won’t go into all the details, just in case they seriously go through with it, but the important points to realize are:
a) They identified a problem
b) They created a solution
c) They will add value and receive compensation
That’s how business works, both offline and online.
Do a quick review of your business to make sure you’ve done the same.
Back to Simon with his closing thoughts…
“I truly believe that bright, clever, creative people can solve any problem that is presented to them. Every single one of us has the power to do this– something, or perhaps many things, that we’re good at that can solve a problem in the world. If you solve a problem, it creates value for the consumer, and it creates wealth for you. That’s a win/win for everyone.”
Solve a problem and win,
“The upside about chaos is it creates a lot of problems. But problems create opportunities. Chaos is a big win for entrepreneurs.” – Matt Smith