Pinpointing Your Pain Points (And What to Do About Them)
Entrepreneurs often use the term “pain point” to mean an acute customer problem which they can help solve. In some sense, every company is in the business of solving pain points for its customers and clients. Even the providers of luxury goods address the “pain” of wealthy buyers who desire to spend their money on the pursuit of pleasure. Most people don’t like pain, so they are willing to pay for a speedy remedy. The greater the pain, the greater the incentive to purchase a healing solution. The timing is also important – the need for a locksmith becomes so much more pressing after you’ve been locked out of your house or car. Sales managers are especially good at giving quick elevator pitches to sum up which types of pain their companies can solve. This is a good skill for everyone in the organization to develop, regardless of their roles. But all executives should also take a hard look within to sort out which pain points are impeding their own business progress. Hard-working managers need to set aside enough time to develop new strategies for pain-solving, and then decide how they will turn those plans into action, according to a blog post by Jane Atkinson
, a management consultant and speaking coach who founded SpeakerLauncher.com. “To solve business pain points, sometimes all you need is time to think,” Atkinson writes. She offers three specific pieces of advice for managers to solve internal pain:
- Make some time on your calendar. Leaders need to commit enough time to develop and execute their business strategies, so it’s best to consciously schedule a regular time to address your internal pain points. Maybe you can put time on your calendar every other week for a personal strategy session at your favorite coffeehouse. Or you can devote idle times on airline flights and commuter trains to cross items off your strategy “to do” list. The point here is to set aside the needed time to solve your pain.
- Create greater accountability. People should know when they are responsible for addressing certain internal pain points. Some employees must be given a firm deadline for the completion of each task. Others do their best when they are given straightforward guidelines for each activity, and specific benchmarks for success. Once the group identifies a definite pain point, the responsibilities for creating a solution must be spelled out clearly for everyone on the team.
- Celebrate each win. Solving pain is a kind of journey that never ends because new problems will inevitably arise for all businesses. It’s vital to remain forward-thinking and well-prepared for whatever may come next. But it’s also critical for team members to be recognized when they achieve successful outcomes. When goals have been reached, send out congratulatory messages or small rewards to the team. Even a simple compliment or verbal “thank you” can go a long way toward building morale when pain points have been resolved.
Solving pain is akin to answering the question, what kind of business are you in? Every company’s mission statement should establish which customer pain points the business will solve. In other words, who is better off because your business exists, and how are they better off? Some fast-food restaurants solve their diner’s pain by producing low-cost meals very quickly. Other high-end restaurants provide an elegant setting, courteous waiters, and fine-dining options for a special night out. Both types of restaurants serve food for a price, but otherwise their missions could not be more different. Once the mission of your business has been clearly established, do not overlook the importance of solving your own internal pain points, whether they involve developmental, operational or financial problems. Oftentimes the most important pain points are the ones that no one is talking about