Business that solves a problem will succeed


One of the avid readers of this column was recently declared redundant by the company he faithfully served for the last 18 years.

Pondering his next move, he asked me whether this is the right time to start a business, something that he has been thinking for a long time but never had the courage to give it a try.

I curtly told him there has never been and there will never be the right time to start a business. The timing depends on individual and success is hardly determined by what is happening in the general world at the time. It is determined by whether your new business is solving a problem in the society.

History is full of case studies to show that most successful businesses were started during the worst economic, political and even social times. During hard times it is true many businesses fail. But we must also look at the other side and realise that many businesses are started and thrive very well.

Equity Bank for example was started during a banking crisis period when many would have logically thought there was no room to start a financial institution at a time when many were struggling to survive.


However, the founders had a painkiller for an aching economy. They provided a solution to people whose banking needs were not well addressed by the providers of the time.

Currently both businesses and individuals are experiencing pain in their lives. The world is in dire need of a solution. Anyone who comes with a solution that soothes or eliminates the pain and build an enterprise on its foundation will succeed.

Business is about impacting people’s lives by reducing their problems or making their life easy. It is therefore obvious that when there are more problems there are more opportunities. Unfortunately, most people focus on the problems and miss out on the opportunities.

Many jobs have been lost companies restructure in order to survive in the new normal. What many of them are doing something akin to starting a new business. They are trying to figure out how to respond to current realities in order to survive.

The new realignment provides a good entry point to those who are creative and driven by genuine need to help others. Put the interest of others before yours and you will a need in the society that you can address. Whether you are currently operating a business or thinking of starting one, you must address current pains among the people in order to make business sense.

The basic question is not which business you should start or which direction to take by current business. It is what you can do to alleviate pain or make life easier for people who are currently suffering myriad needs. If you get the answer to this question the next things which is a walk in the park, is to commercialize it. It is to package it in a way that people will buy it and you are in business.

is a business trainer and the author of The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market. [email protected]