Author: Paul Markovich

Solve One Problem: The Key to Small Business Success

AI & Web Development

Solve one problem, have you heard about this concept before? As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats. Accountant, marketing director, operations manager – you name it, you do it. With so many responsibilities, it’s tempting to offer a wide range of products and services to meet every possible need. However, trying to be a jack-of-all-trades can actually harm your business.

The specialists succeed where the generalists fail

When we talk about how to solve one problem. It’s important to note that most successful small business owners obsess over solving one core problem for their ideal customers. They dedicate themselves fully to mastering their craft in that niche area. This singular focus leads to excellence, efficiency, and profitability.

Think about the small businesses you love to frequent. Did they solve one problem? What about the bakery with the perfect croissants, the mechanic who magically fixes any car, the web designer who creates gorgeous sites. These business owners have learned their niche inside and out. They have focused maniacally on how to solve one problem better than anyone else.

Solve One Problem: Avoid expanding too quickly

When you solve one problem, you’ll have to resist the urge to expand your offerings too quickly. Instead, isolate that one service or product that brings real value to your customers. Ask yourself:

  • What core need do my best customers have that I can address?
  • What do people compliment me on or come to me for help with repeatedly?
  • What skills and knowledge have I cultivated over the years?

Become the absolute best at solving one problem

Once you identify your specialty, pour your energy into honing it. Refine your systems, processes, and skills. Eliminate weak points through diligent practice. Learn where there is opportunity to go above and beyond for your clients. Become the absolute best at how to solve one problem.

Focus leads to mastery

Over time, you will gain a sterling reputation for solving this one problem better than anyone else. That reputation will drive referrals and retention. Before you know it, this one thing will account for 80% or more of your business success.

Cautionary tales of losing focus

Still, the temptation to expand services is understandable. But consider these cautionary tales:

Janine started a cupcake bakery known for her incredible chocolate ganache filling. But soon she tried to expand into full catering services. The complex cuisine diluted her efforts, mistakes happened, and soon her reputation began to suffer. She longer was trying to solve one problem.

Mark was a talented mechanic who could diagnose any car problem quickly. But he attempted to also add body work services. The queue of cars needing repairs grew as his focus was diverted. His customers began taking their business elsewhere. Again, he was no longer trying to solve one problem.

Alicia founded a web design firm and loved making beautifully responsive sites. Yet she tried to also offer specialized e-commerce functionality. The complex sites took longer, introduced new problems, and clients weren’t happy.

In each case, core competencies suffered as these owners tried to do too much. Their strengths were diluted, quality declined, and profitability took a hit.

Tips for identifying and honing your niche

Learning this lesson yourself early on can prevent a lot of frustration. Focus is the path to mastery. Help your clients solve one problem exceptionally well – that is the cornerstone of a thriving business.

Here are some tips for zeroing in on your niche and becoming the best at solving one problem:

  • Survey your current customer base – what do they frequently ask you for help with? Where do they offer compliments about your existing services?
  • Offer free trials or discounts – see which service offering gets the most takers when you remove barriers like high cost.
  • Talk to colleagues – what gap do they see in the market that aligns with your skills?
  • Say no – eliminate service offerings that distract from your core competencies. Refer those opportunities to colleagues.
  • Invest in your niche – purchase tools, training, and technology specific to honing your specialty. Become certified if possible.
  • Study competitors – what are other businesses in your niche doing successfully? Where do they fall short where you could shine?
  • Set goals – establish numeric objectives for metrics like number of customers, average project size, and profitability from your specialty.
  • Document systems – create guides, checklists, and procedures to optimize delivery of your specialty service.
  • Calculate ROI – run the numbers to see which service area generates the highest return on your invested time.

Focus leads to mastery and success

The concept of solving one problem may sound overly simplistic. But time and again it proves to be a core factor in small business success. Resist the temptation to be a jack-of-all-trades. Instead, be the specialist your clients return to again and again. Hone your skills, perfect your process, and stand out from the crowd. By becoming the best at solving one problem, you will find the path to sustained growth.

To your success,

Paul Markovich

Lead Developer