Features vs. solutions
There are two factors that will always, without question, separate the successful entrepreneurs from those who struggle.
The first is that successful entrepreneurs understand the difference between features and solutions. Secondly, they tend to ignore features and take action based on solutions.
A feature is a prominent part or characteristic of something. A solution is an answer to a problem. In some cases, it is the prominent part or characteristic of something that becomes the answer to a problem. Simply put, a feature will provide you a solution in some cases.
The most important aspect of a feature providing a solution is that the solution must be relevant to an existing problem. When someone makes a purchase or takes an action based on a feature that doesn’t solve a pre-existing problem for them, they are wasting resources, because they would be solving problems that do not exist.
I have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have known some of the most organised persons here on earth. A friend once told me: “When I was a young entrepreneur just starting out, I was the most organised business owner I knew. There were two main reasons for this. The first was that I spent all of my time organising everything. The second was because I spent all of my time organising and spent no time gathering clients.
“I never actually did any real work that would mess up my perfectly organised system. My problem was not disorganisation but a lack of clients. Being organised was a feature and a waste of my effort at that point. I should have invested my energy into solving the problem of not having any client so that once I started generating income, I could solve the problem of disorganisation if and when it came up.”
Successful people have a specific goal and solve problems on their way toward achieving that goal. Anything that doesn’t move them toward their specific goal is a waste of their time and money.
Most people suffer from consumerism. The “new features” look cool on TV, so now they feel compelled to buy the gadget. They spend money to solve problems they do not have. Money is a limited resource and the more they spend solving problems they don’t have, the less they have to spend on solving problems they do have.
Some people suffer from analysis paralysis. This is the difference between overloading oneself with information and actually getting things done. One of the greatest tools of research and the greatest cause of paralysis in our time is the internet.
You can find information quickly and easily there. The problem is, there is so much information that some people never take action, because they would be busy attempting to read and digest everything.
Successful people research just enough to start taking action and then solve problems as they come up. They know that one can only win the game by actually playing the game (taking action). They know that the game is not won by knowing every feature but by knowing how to find any solution.
Managers know that employees are suckers for features. An employee will ask for a raise (a solution for not having enough money) and what will the manager do? The manager will give them a new title. The employee will walk into the office as a “supervisor” and walk out as a “regional supervisor” with the same pay; a slightly increased workload and a promise that his next “promotion” will include a pay increase soon.
The employee won’t realise they just got played. And what happens if the employee figures out the title game? Then, he will get a parking space with his name on it. It’s just another feature for the employee that won’t solve their problem of needing more money.
How much would this parking space have cost the company? Nothing. For the company, it would be a solution, because it would solve the problem of the employee needing a raise, thus shutting them up at no cost.
Have you ever seen a Lamborghini advertisement talking about improved kilometre per gallon? Nope! And you never will.
The people who buy Lamborghinis have money by the truckloads and don’t have a problem paying for petrol no matter the cost. Fuel efficiency for the rich is a feature. But remember, successful people tend to ignore features.
Now, if you went to anyone’s office who actually owns a Lamborghini, you would notice that all their decisions are solution-based.
If you were to sell something to the owner of that company, sell solutions, not features. Offer to solve an existing problem for the company at a reasonable price and you would have a sale. Present them with the idea of a hot tub to be installed in the lunch room, because “it would be so cool” and expect the idea to be rejected.
What this all comes down to is ignoring some of the comforts (features) and using your resources to solve problems that keep you from your goals. As I have said in this column before, entrepreneurship is about living a few years of your life like most people wouldn’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people won’t.
Forget the retards who laugh at you now, because they don’t know what the future holds.