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You’ve Got Problems. Solve One, Get Rich. Here’s How…

bag filled with gold coinsThis is a guest post by Bryce Long. Bryce is a self-made millionaire and blogs about marketing, startups, success and motivation at

When you think about any self-made millionaire or billionaire, you can usually point to a common problem they’ve figured out a solution for. Take for example Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google.

Before they invented Google you had to use “first generation” search engines to find information online. These search engines were primitive and often returned inaccurate results. Along came Google (or “Backrub” as it was affectionately known before a name change) with its excellent search algorithms, accurate results and shortly after, AdWords (you know, the text ads that appear above and to the right of your search results).

Google becomes an “overnight success”, attracting millions of users and more importantly tens of thousands of companies who pay to have their text ads featured alongside relevant search results.

Google really solved two problems with one solution. They made it easy to find accurate information online while making it possible for businesses to pay about a buck per click to display targeted advertisements alongside search results, thus creating a consistent revenue stream in the billions. Larry and Sergey are each worth $15 billion at the time of writing.

Not bad.

By finding a way to solve a common problem (in Google’s case, online search) and by charging a large number of people for access to that solution (Google is free for consumers and paid for by businesses who use Google AdWords), Google has generated billions of dollars in revenue and created countless millionaires over the last 12 or so years.

The (Over Simplified) Formula

So when you break down the formula, it looks something like this:

  • Find a problem that frustrates a lot of people
  • Make sure the problem is frustrating enough that they would pay for a solution
  • Create that solution and make sure they know about it

There’s a statistic that says something like 90% of small businesses fail in the first 5 years. Well, let’s think about the typical small business – a restaurant. Let’s assume Tony is a chef and he’s thinking of opening his own Italian restaurant in Los Angeles called “Tony’s De Roma”.

Nice name, but is he solving a problem that’s:

  1. Frustrating a lot of people?
  2. Frustrating them so much they’d pay him to solve it?

Well, let’s think about it.

If you go to any major city in the western world you’ll find dozens (probably hundreds) of Italian restaurants. And they’ll all be fairly similar. They’ll sell garlic bread, pastas, veal, etc. Some will have nice modern decor, others will look like they’re out of the 1960s. Very, very, very few of them (if any) will offer anything unique or different.

Now don’t get me wrong, these Italian restaurants will feed you, but they’re more or less interchangeable. And if Tony is like most other chefs (he probably is) then he will be certain that his food is the best, better than anyone elses, because that’s how chefs think.

But it’s not how most people who like Italian restaurants think, though. Most people don’t wake up in the morning thinking “Wow, I really wish there was yet another Italian restaurant around here. The existing ones just aren’t cutting it”.

So instead of opening “yet another” Italian restaurant and offering nothing different, what should chef Tony do? Well, he has dozens of options but here’s one that might just work. When you think about a typical Italian restaurant it will:

  • Have dozens of items on the menu
  • Sell pizza, pasta, veal dishes, chicken dishes, etc
  • Offer eat in, take out and probably delivery
  • Have food that’s good, but not great

The “Untypical” Italian Restaurant

What about if Tony stripped back all of the typical “stuff” associated with an Italian restaurant and tried this:

  • Only make pizzas using organic ingredients sourced from local producers – forget pastas, veal, chicken, etc. Offer a gluten free option for no extra charge.
  • Only make one unique type of pizza each day and nothing else. Never make the same topping combination ever again. For example, if one day Tony makes a pizza with cheese, pepperoni, ham, olives, basil and prosciutto then he would never make pizzas on another day with that same combination.
  • Don’t offer delivery, just offer eat in or take out. And don’t provide a restaurant. Just setup a few milk crates out the front.
  • Let people submit ideas for new pizza topping combinations with weird names, such as “The Avocado Avalanche”. Once a week, choose one of the combinations and sell only that pizza for the entire day. Donate 10% of all profits to a local charity, selected by the person who came up with the idea for that pizza.
  • Sell each pizza for a flat $20. More expensive than Dominos and Papa John but that’s fine because Tony’s organic, locally sourced produce attract a particular kind of person willing to pay slightly more for quality.
  • The only way to find out what today’s pizza is would be to follow Tony on Facebook or Twitter.

So what problem would Tony be solving with this new model? He’s still selling pizza, right? And he’s still got a restaurant, right? Well the problem he’d be solving if he went into business using the model above has nothing to do with pizza. If you re-read the list above you’ll see he’s really solving three problems:

  1. Health – this problem is two fold. Using organic produce means Tony is avoiding pesticides and other nasties that are typically “included” with most fruit and vegetables you buy at the supermarket. By offering a gluten free option, Tony is catering to the  1 in 111 adults who have a gluten allergy for which pizza from Dominos or Papa John’s isn’t an option.
  2. The environment – by sourcing ingredients from local producers, Tony is reducing the carbon footprint of his business while at the same time more directly contributing to the growth and prosperity of his local economy. This might not sound like much but it will come into play when we create his unique selling point and story below.
  3. Boredom – There are hundreds of Italian restaurants around but Tony’s restaurant is unique because it’s completely different. He will only sell one kind of pizza a day. He will cater to customers who appreciate (and more often, insist) his use of local, organic produce. And he’ll make a higher profit margin on each pizza because he will attract the kind of customers who understand it costs a few more bucks to produce a pizza of higher quality.

Can you imagine going to a pizza place like Tony’s? There’d always be a sense of excitement because you’d never know what was on the menu. You’d get a much healthier pizza and you’d feel good knowing the ingredients have been sourced from no more than 50 miles away.

Using Unique Selling Points to Get People Talking

These three things become Tony’s USP – unique selling points. Because his restaurant meets the health, social and curiosity needs of people in the area, he stands out and people want to tell their friends about it. Why? Well as humans we’re wired to share new and cool things we find with other people. It makes us feel special and important and whether we realize it or not that’s important to us on a subconscious level.

Whether you’re selling (or are planning to sell) pizza, cars, clothes, services, software or gym memberships, you need to pin point a problem that’s frustrating enough people so much that they’d pay you handsomely to make it go away.

Standing Out in a Well-Established Industry

If you’re looking to get into an existing industry with well-established players (such as personal training) then you already know enough people are experiencing a problem for which they’ll pay money. The key then is not to duplicate the established players, but to find out one thing you can do better than them, and focus on that as your big point of difference.

How do you figure out what you should do differently? You ask their customers. For example, if you’re thinking about starting a personal training business then you’d find a bunch of people who currently use personal trainers and ask them what they like and dislike about their current trainer. If you ask enough people (at least 30) you should begin to see some commonality in their responses about what they like but more importantly what they dislike.

You can then use those dislikes to create opportunity. For example, if most people tell you then don’t like working out with their trainer in a public area because they’re self conscious of their bodies then you’d create a personal training business where all workouts were completed in a gym or in the client’s home. And if you promote your unique selling point effectively then you’ll start winning over clients from other personal trainers quicker than you can say “drop and give me ten”.

Again, this is a simplified example but I’m sure you get the point.

Wrapping it Up

There’s opportunity everywhere you look, but the most important place to start is with the problem. Once you’ve found the problem (and this can be harder than it seems, but that’s why I’m here to advise you) then it’s time to formulate your plan of attack, which is what we’ll look at in the next post.

Other Lessons In The Series

  • Lesson 1: Find a Problem
  • Lesson 2: Formulate a Plan
  • Lesson 3: Expand Your Financial Comfort Zone
  • Lesson 4: Understanding Marketing (Coming Soon)

Bryce LongThis is a guest post by Bryce Long. Bryce is a self-made millionaire and blogs about marketing, startups, success and motivation at

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Category: blogging

21 Comments on "You’ve Got Problems. Solve One, Get Rich. Here’s How…"

  1. Stuart says:

    Wow, brilliant post, this is truly something! I hadn’t thought about starting up a business in so much depth before, but now after reading this, the temptation to plan something is definitely there.

    Great read, and thanks for sharing Bryce. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series 🙂

  2. Hey, nice and a very good piece of share. I like the way this has been crafted. Keep up the great work. promoted the post..

    Happy New Year

  3. Hi Bryce

    Really thinking outside the box. By the time you finished with the restaurant I would buy one of those pizzas and I like healthy foods. The uniqueness and that it’s organic got me in 🙂

    Will now go and rethink my marketing strategy. Thanks for a really useful post. But then you’re walking the walk 😉

    Patricia Perth Australia

  4. Rahul says:

    Hi Bryce, your article is something full of fruitful content, the tips you have pointed out there are of great help to everyone especially in the business world.

  5. alamin says:

    Thanks Bryce, all of the nice point here. I am totally agree with you that we should find a problem which effect lots of people.

  6. samuel says:

    Awesome post Bruce! Building a business that win is about finding a solution to people’s problem. As an entrepreneur, you must be able to open your eyes in order to recognize opportunities. Don’t just bash into the business world all because of the money! Great post once again. Thanks so much. Have fun 🙂

  7. Rob@Plaster Coving says:

    Hey Bruce, I think your idea of how to stand out in a well established industry is different and definitely would work. Asking the market what it wants is really what it is all about.

    Thanks for sharing you great business ideas with us.

  8. Andreas says:

    For me a good business must be sustainable and be able to earn in income during highs and lows.
    For example, you could build your brand that sells a yummy pizza with a lot of fat for a high price and make big cash right away, or go the green route with carefully selected ingredients for a fair price.

  9. Ron from Electricians Isleworth says:

    Good post and thank you for sharing some idea, as I am reading your post this thought came up from my mind, making business that will success is about finding a solution to people’s problem.

  10. Sam says:

    Nice post Bruce.Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hector Avellaneda says:

    Awesome post Bruce!

    I once heard someone say that “There is Gold all around us. The problem is that the average eye is just not trained to see it!”

    I think your points are an excellent manifestation of that!

    Not too long ago a wrote an article similar in point to this one. The theme being to start any new business or product idea by first identifying who your customers are going to be. I think this is exactly what you were referring to in this article!

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to the rest of the series!

  12. Interesting Pictures says:

    lol i didnt know that problems are good for us 😛 thnx for the post. nice topic…

  13. silpada says:

    Very happy to read about the revolution of Google. It has really shown amazing progress.

  14. William Tha Great says:

    Hey Bruce,

    Thanks for the fantastic post!

    You are right on here bro! I do have one main problem and that is that I’m not rich yet. That is why I’m working hard everyday toward that goal of being a millionaire. One day soon I’m sure I will get there cause I won’t stop until I do!

    Solving a problem is one really easy way to get some recognition. The only problem with that is that it’s not really so easy finding a problem for most people to fix. That seems to be where a lot of the difficulty lands.

    I believe you have to always follow your passion if you want it to be a life long journey.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

  15. Rahul Singh says:

    Wow! What a post!
    This article shows your in depth knowledge of how businesses should start. This is so helpful for so many of us.

  16. Blog the bank says:

    I couldn’t agree more but the hardest problem is coming up with something allot of people need that is really useful. In my personal opinion I think that it is easier to just improve on the things that we already have.

  17. Great Post. It gives positive energy to peoples.

    Thanks to share with us.

  18. Thinking differently is a skill that is acquired by being in the vicinity of millionaires as it is their practical guidance that will help you to change the way you think. Thinking differently means, instead of thinking of how to make millions, thinking that today I will work to become rich tomorrow.

  19. get money now says:

    mind blowing business developing ideas..

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  21. Buntu Redempter says:

    Great post. Thank you for sharing.


Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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