I was very fortunate to meet Michele Macready @MMacready, founder and seniour consultant at Illume Consulting at Vancouver Startup Weekend. She’s an amazing woman and is filled with so much wisdom.
During a networking event held by Pique Ventures, I asked her what the difference between successful business startups and those that fail. And she gave me an answer that was crystal clear. She said it’s always important to solve the pain and not be attached to the solution.
When I heard this, this made a lot of sense. Too many businesses whether they are tech startups, marketing, or those in the hospitality stick too much to the solution. They find themselves heavily invested in trying to force something work but over time they become complacent and they stop evolving to solve the pain.
Marketing Agencies Suffer the Same Problem
This has been the state of the marketing industry in the last few years. Traditional marketing agencies that are offering advertising services and not focusing on being a hybrid agency that include digital marketing, are slowly dying out. Marketing is a very, very competitive industry and they go through the same challenges that any other startup does.
As companies are relying less and less on traditional media such as radio, television, and newspaper to get their message out, marketing agencies need to move towards solving the pain for most of their clients. The core pains for many industries remain the same.
In hospitality the pain points remain about acquiring new customers, building loyalty, and creating brand evangelists. If you always focus on the solution that worked in the past, then you’ll never be able to focus on the new solutions that solve the pains that your clients and customers are going through now and will in the future.
I think the most important lesson I learned from my talk with Michele was this; if you lose sight of what your customer’s pain is, and you decide that there’s only one main approach to solving that pain then your business will eventually fail.
Lack of Innovation is a Guarantee Fail
Looking at the different technology trends, and ways of doing business, it’s not surprising that many businesses have up and folded because of this. Eatons, a massive department store that had historical roots in Canada for more than 100 years folded because it no longer solved the problem that people had. The pain that Eatons was originally solving was convenience. It was designed to make it easier for shoppers to buy different items in one location instead of visiting a variety of specialty shops.
But it was Amazon, that became the new solution provider. It provided the ultimate convenience. Sit at home, click on what you want, and we’ll send it over to you, and we’ll do it cheaper than most retailers. Amazon is also a perfect example, could you imagine if Amazon only sold printed books?
Another disruptive company is Karma Hire, a Vancouver startup that is making it easier for companies to hire over long distances and to qualify prospects. This technology has the potential to change hiring practices across the world.
Whether you are running a hospitality business, or marketing business, really ask yourself what kind of pain are you trying to solve for your customers. Think of the pains, and solve the pains, and don’t be stubborn about sticking to one solution.