Whose Problem are You Solving?

One of the main focuses of my company, Optimal Upgrade Consulting, is to look at the core problem our clients are trying to solve. This may or may not be the same problem as the one the client thinks they have, simply because they are often unaware of available solutions to the real problem they have.

This is not to say that I argue with my clients about what they really want. Quite the opposite – I want my clients to be happy, so I give them what they ask for. However, by understanding the problem I’m being asked to solve, I can ensure that I provide the best service possible.

There’s another benefit as well. If I am asked to do some work for a client, and I understand the nature of their business, then I can possibly find other opportunities to help them. This in turn helps me – it’s what drives my business.

If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

There’s an expression I liked the first time I saw it, and I’ve seen it come up several times since. It’s best expressed in the poster on the right – If you aren’t part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

Naturally, this is poking fun at consultants, who can often charge exorbitant fees and produce no real results at the end of the day. But there’s truth here as well. As a consultant, you can either solve a problem, or further complicate a problem. One solves the need of the client, the other solves the need of the consultant.

As a business, you want to be solving the problem of the client. I prefer to be known as someone who solves problems, not as someone who makes a killing developing complicated solutions to problems that didn’t exist before I first showed up.

How about you? Whose problems are you solving?