How to focus on the problem rather than the solution when scaling your business

By February 23, 2019 ScaleUp Heroes

Scaling companies are designed to focus time, energy and resources on creating the perfect solution. Now it may seem counterintuitive but when growing a strong customer base, taking a step back from talking about your solution is the key. Of course, every business wants to provide the best answer, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of talking about it. Who doesn’t want to spend all day spreading how great their product is?

But on the past week episode of the ScaleUp Heroes podcast, we were cautioned by Dan Schiffman, Co-Founder of TVision, of spending too much time pitching our solutions rather than directing attention towards the problem. Speak your customers’ language, and you’re closer to finding a successful formula for scaling your business.

Also joined by moderators Mike Dias from and Ryan Foland from Influence Tree, Schiffman imparted practical insights into how TVision scaled into a $10 million business.

Master what’s in your control

It’s useful to recognize what we can’t control when scaling a business. In the words of Schiffman, the most important thing that we can’t control is time.

Good timing can mean that the demand for your product is immediate; bad timing can mean you need another two years for the market to take interest. But this remains a product of luck. So rather, Schiffman quickly pulled our attention to what we can control: namely the customer development process.

According to him, a lot of TVision success can be attributed to spending time with their customers. But, unlike the trend for a lot of scaling businesses, they tried their best to speak about their customers’ problem, rather than their own solution to it.

Ryan Foland was quick to agree that customers rarely care about the company or the person selling to them. What they do care about is the problem they have and speaking to customers along these terms will much more successfully resonate with them.

The next question then becomes: how does TVision find their customers’ voice in a way that they can articulate back through their solution?

Discover your customers’ voice in your product when scaling your business

Schiffman had two tips on getting into the mind of the customer that worked for them. The first is to spend all day with them.

At TVision, they spent workdays speaking to customers, then nights and weekends relaying this information back to their team to use in the development process. And Schiffman believes this is really what pushed them from a startup to a scaleup.

The second piece of advice he imparted is building a strong advisory board. Using their C-round investors as their board, they didn’t hesitate for a second to reach out for introductions. And whenever they felt a customer’s need was unmet, they would ask to be acquainted with an expert in that field.

If you’d like to hear more about how Dan Schiffman scaled TVision, listen to the full episode of this week’s ScaleUp Heroes podcast in SoundCloud.Then, keep listening and keep scaling — the next episode goes live on Monday. And if you want to know more about ScaleUp Academy initiatives, calendar and purpose, join our community by subscribing to the ScaleUp Academy newsletter.