Yesterday I did one of my free 25-minute phone consultations with a prospective client. She is a communications expert who helps companies and organizations get the word out about what they do well. In some ways, she’s a marketing copy writer.

So we talked about her business and how she wants to use her website to take her business to the next level. Then I asked THE question…”What problems does your work solve for your clients.” Like many small business owners or service professionals, she told me about what she could DO for her clients, but nothing about the actual problems that she solved for them. I listened intently and said nothing more – coaching at that level is beyond our free consultation.

One of the most important points of defining your business is knowing what problem(s) you can solve for your target audience. If you don’t clearly know, there are a number of approaches to help. In 7 Crucial Steps To Take Before Marketing Your Services, Susan Martin suggests one approach:

  1. Identify your ideal client and claim your niche.
  2. Pinpoint their pain.
  3. Understand what their customers really want.
  4. Get clear about what makes you different from your competition.
  5. Create a compelling values proposition
  6. Develop a powerful message.
  7. Position yourself as an expert problem-solver.

Susan’s process takes you from identifying who you’d like to work with to positioning yourself as their problem solver (expert, of course, we’ve already talked about). Judy Murdoch as another approach. Art Luff even writes about using your blog to position yourself within your market.

So what problems does your business solve for your target audience?

Reader Interactions


  1. Stuart Baker says

    Powerful post, Dawud.

    You and a couple of others I know of in the marketing world urge this remarkably direct and illuminating approach, or truth, really.

    It is good for me to keep revisiting these guidelines and work toward greater and greater clarity.


    Stuart Baker

  2. Dawud Miracle says


    Thanks Stuart. Knowing that you’re a beginning blogger, clarity is something you can derive from writing more and more blog posts. Read my post on One ‘Real’ Reason Small Business Owners Should Be Blogging.

    What are some concrete ways you see using your blog to clarify your message?

  3. Stuart Baker says

    Real interesting thread here.

    I have found that in the construction business customers sometimes have had to pick their lower jaws off the floor when they heard this approach of “I want to take good care of you. What is most important to you?” Almost funny to see this sometimes.

    Yet what a doorway into forming a warm, trusting relationship together.

    Karin H., have you seen this too?

  4. Stuart Baker says

    Dawud, it is an honest and true rant.

    My electrician, who is as conscientious as anyone I have ever met, told me about a surgeon he worked for. It was nasty work. The surgeon questioned the hours worked and the fee.

    Ted, the electrician, basically said to him, “Are you serious? You make what you do, and you are going to begrudge me a decent hourly wage?”

    And that gets into being paid fairly, which feeds feeling good about yourself, which comes across to clients……

    On another note, Dawud, you asked about concrete ways to use blogging to clarify the message.

    I am finding that writing and having exchange with others is helping to expand my knowledge of some needs out there and clarify and expand on what I can offer.

    This experience has been pretty amazing in a short time.

    How is your cold?

    Stuart Baker

  5. Mindfulness Maverick says

    Up until now, I’ve been a mess with solving a problem. My has been geared to help people slow down and get clarity.

    Unfortunately, I’ve focused on the process instead of the results. And the results have been amazing. I really help all my clients make more money and do it in a way that keeps their integrity. But does it say this on my website – no.

    Now the bigger question. Who do I help. Well I’ve reviewed my clients and all of them work within organizations. They may be independent like a realtor, mortgage broker, direct marketer, but they all work for bigger companies.

    I’ll be going to the drawing board and I know it’s time to retool. Thanks Dawud for your informative blog.

    Oh and I’m wondering if you have any suggestions when you leave someone an email or phone and leave a message and they don’t call back, but they’ve said they want to be in communication then what do you do? Can you do a blog on that one.

  6. Mindfulness Maverick says

    Karin H.,

    Thanks for the input and feel free to “budd in” anytime.

    Great idea and I love that you personalize each standard letter.

    Curious when I went to your site it why you don’t link to your (retail) business?

    With the traffic I would assume it is another stream that leads to you and your product?

  7. Karin Karin H. says

    Good morning Dawud

    Spot on (as always). As my mentor always says: don’t talk about features (what it/you can do), talk about benefits (what’s the gain for the buyer). Solving a problem is a big one in this.

  8. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.,

    Most people today when considering a business ask two questions – first, ‘what’s in it for me?’ and then, ‘what’s it cost?’

    They really can’t get answers to the first question without you clearly communicating what problem of theirs you can solve.

  9. Karin Karin H. says

    Hi Stuart,

    yes we have (fortunately ;-))
    We even ‘brag’ about it, no lets put that differently: we even make it our aim (as Dawud knows) supplying you with that wooden flooring best suited for YOUR circumstance, YOUR interior design, YOUR budget.

  10. Dawud Miracle says


    I would think that to be true. It seems, in general, the trades have this stigma of people being taken advantage of. A doctor friend of mine recently had to have some minor plumbing repaired in his home. The plumber charged him $70/hr, which seem legit to me. But my doctor friend complained – not to the plumber, mind you. So I asked my friend…as a doctor, what do you make per hour? Answer…3-4x that. And then I made the point that doctors are highly trained, but most can’t fix their own toilets. That’s why they hire plumbers. And when your toilet is leaking, you pay what the market bares.

    I tell this story to show the misunderstanding of the skill and competence it takes to be a tradesman. Yet, because they do ‘dirty work,’ they’re often looked down upon. Yet, imagine if for one week, all car mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and garbage men didn’t work. How would we go about our days among the heaps of garbage, broken cars and broken toilets.

    I guess I needed to rant…

  11. Karin Karin H. says

    Maverick, don’t want to ‘budd in’ before Dawud, but I liked to tell you how we ‘solve’ that problem.
    As soon as a prospect mentions he/she wants to communicate we see that as ‘Permission Marketing’ and have a series of emails we send out to them. (Series in so far, eveyone of them is half standard, half added with personal ‘info’ this or that person wants).

    Not sure if such a solution would help you (very different trade we’re in: retail) but it does work for us, people do get back in touch with us earlier than before we had this series.

  12. Dawud Miracle says


    I’m sure everyone has stories about this. Perhaps something you can take up on your blog periodically. Nice topic – somewhat controversial. As your traffic increases, might be a good conversational topic.

    And I hear you about writing. That’s a benefit I think is often overlooked by people starting a blog – all the opportunity to fine-tune how you describe what you do.


    I hear you. More often than not, we’re simply unaware of the impact we have on people we work with. It’s an odd thing.

    Remind me by email on the phone issue and I’ll try to post soon. But I think Karin H. did a great job answering your question.

    Karin H.,


  13. Karin Karin H. says

    [quote comment=”1707″]Karin H.,

    Curious when I went to your site it why you don’t link to your (retail) business?

    With the traffic I would assume it is another stream that leads to you and your product?[/quote]

    Funny you should mention that, Maverick 😉
    Wrote a post on that only yesterday: the kiss2 blog is more about business mentality etc – gets a very other different type of readers than our retail business also – where out FAQ blog is purely dedicated to our prospects/customers and sends them to our ‘static’ websites (and later on, also into our showroom – not all, couldn’t handle 180 unique visitors per day there).

  14. Sylvia Bridge says

    Thank you for your clear cut information. It will be very helpful. I am a brand new webmaster and your site has helped our business tremendously. Thank you very much.

  15. mike says

    You’ve gotta respect the “dirty workers.” I always watch what they do for their work, make sure they’re doing it right, pay them on time and send them off with a six-pack.

  16. workers comp audit says

    What a great post. I’m actually having this problem right now with my business. How do I tell people that my service can benefit them when they aren’t even looking for it or have a clue about it. Trying to get people to understand that I can recover money for them from their workers comp premiums is not easy to get across without sounding like a scam.

    I will definitely bookmark this and try to use your tips. Thanks.

  17. tradesman says

    i like your post very much. good communication and good personal releation ship is able to solve your problem to the good extent. in teh evry business there is the good need of the business

  18. Denver Locksmith says

    Very interesting. This is so true. Too many sales approaches use up most of their pitch talking about the tools, instead of their applications.


  1. […] What Problems Does Your Business Solve? Yesterday I did one of my free 25-minute phone consultations with a prospective client. She is a communications expert who helps companies and organizations get the word out about what they do well. (tags: business marketing) […]

  2. […] What Problems Does Your Business Solve? […]

  3. […] Naturally, any, and indeed all kinds of services are meant to solve a problem. […]

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