Who was the first person to record sound? Thomas Edison? NOPE! It was In 1857 by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. He was a French inventor that was interested in what sound looks like. He was able to etch the sound of a popular folk song on glass because he was interested in how the sound looked. He never cared to hear the etching. Then comes along Edison (and TEAM) nearly 20 years later with his phonograph. Once the application of music was applied... it was a hit!
So what is the lesson here? What good is an invention if you never discover who would want it. The French inventor once he heard of Edison's phonograph begin saying I did it first. It did not matter because Edison was the person to find an application that people wanted.
One of the most critical things an entrepreneur or business can do is identify who their product appeals to. When you believe that you have an idea or business that is revolutionary remember to ask WHO CARES.
One way to do this is to use the problem-solution formatting. What is the problem? How is this a solution? When identifying your problem be sure to ask for whom is this a problem. As long as you can identify at least one set of constituents (individuals or businesses) then you may move forward. Here is a helpful hint : Everyone is not an acceptable answer EVER!
The next question that you need to ask is: Will those affected be able to use my solution?
Here is a simplified example of I like to use to illustrate how there could be a disconnect.
Problem: "People should pull themselves up by their bootstraps"
Solution: I will make and sell boot straps
Issue: The people who you'd like to pull themselves up have no boots... so the straps will not solve their problem.
While this seems like a crazy analogy it shows how you can have a solution that does not touch the people who would care.
Always remember to have a specific audience to start. You can not be everything to everyone so choose a few relevant applications and then of course test and get feedback!
Dr. Shante Williams is a serial entrepreneur who started slow and in the shallow end of the business pool. She has worked in Biotech, Big Pharma, Green Energy, and Academia