Your Top 5 Problems

July 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

My head has been spinning for the last year as I found myself back in school, trying to sneak a masters degree into my already busy schedule. This week I  started a new course for my program called Entrepreneurship and Creativity, which is requiring a new and unique business plan. The instructor introduced the course by talking about products and services, and their purpose.

Do all products have to solve a problem?

The answer was a unanimous no. Many products are created purely for entertain value, or a cool factor (i.e. the iPod). However it was agreed in group discussion that business plans are easier to develop (and sometimes more successful) when you are offering something that solves a problem for the masses. The lecture and class discussion was both entertaining and thought provoking. What really struck me in this discussion was the question, posed by the instructor; What are your top 5 problems? And can a product (or service) solve them?

What are my top 5 problems!?! Gosh, I don’t know… I try to avoid thinking about them. I’ve never numbered them. I have never asked myself if there was a way to make them go away! At this point in the class, I got lost in my own head, falling down a tangent that I have now been stuck in for 4 days. I couldn’t come up with my top 5 problems to date, so I asked myself- what were my top 5 problems last year? How about 5 years ago? What were my top 5 problems at the age of 16?

If you are asking yourself these questions, you may be laughing! My problems at least, have taken a very serious coming of age turn. When I was 16 my biggest problems included beating some Asian kid out of the running for student counsel president and having to share a car with my sister. My biggest problems 5 years ago were getting a fake ID and a better boyfriend. And my biggest problem last year was entering the job market mid-recession.

I have also found, as I’ve gotten older, that not only do my problems become more serious but the solutions become less quantitative and less likely to be solved through a product and service. From this one class session, I have begun to connect some of the dots in my life and put new and important things into perspective. This is a lot of food for thought from a one credit course!

So I encourage you to today to take some time and ask yourself the question: What are my top 5 problems?

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