Find a Problem
As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, engaging in such an adventure may seem daunting or intimidating, irrespective of your experience level. You might have multiple years of experience, or you might be fresh out of college or high school. You might already have a problem that you want to solve, perhaps with a proposed solution, or you might be starting from scratch.
Our message to you: allow yourself to be inspired by your own personal experiences as you think about creating a venture.
ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS
It's critical to ask yourself questions in order to better understand what drives you as well as what skills and experiences will help you succeed. Asking questions like these will help you identify and leverage your strengths while also identifying areas you can supplement with other resources or those in your network.
VALIDATE THE PROBLEM
Drawing from your own experiences, identify unmet need. This should be the first step of your entrepreneurial journey, and it is one that will define almost everything that will follow. Unmet needs are opportunities for your venture to deliver value, refresh existing products, or expand into new markets, ultimately solving a problem that a particular set of individuals experience, driving an overall better result or outcome. The problem you aim to solve can be big or small, but remember that the scale of the problem will impact that values of the solution.
Once you have identified a specific unmet need that you care to address, such as an underserved patient population or a disease that may be lacking effective treatments, is it is time to evaluate if that need is truly unmet.
Map out what you already know about the unmet need you have identified and what gaps exist in your knowledge you would like to learn.
Read reports, peer-reviewed journal articles, and reliable news articles to better understand the problem and what's been tried before.
Reputable journals will vary based on field. One can search key terms in PubMed, for example, to look for journal articles about biomedical-related topics. Google Scholar is another journal article search engine that is discipline-agnostic. Individuals with university affiliations should have access to most journals.
These articles may be useful to cite or reference when you speak with stakeholders. Moreover, at times, it may be useful to reach out to the authors of these studies to learn more about the subject matter at hand. The authors may even be able to point you to additional articles, resources, or people which or whom may be useful to learn from.
Identify the key stakeholders involved in the problem, such as patients, providers, payers, and companies. What assumptions do you have about the problem at hand and what these stakeholders care about?
Prepare interview guides with the questions you would like to ask these stakeholders to test assumptions.
Reach out to these stakeholders. Leverage your academic institutions as well as personal and professional networks to connect.
Create a stakeholder matrix and fill it out as you conduct interviews.
It is important to remember that identifying a meaningful problem you care to solve is not a simple feat. The process is iterative. You may find yourself revisiting your assumptions and thinking about how to refine the question repeatedly throughout your journey. This is only the beginning.