“The important thing is not to stop questioning”. All entrepreneurs travel down the path of trying to find an answer to a specific problem. But only the correct questions lead to the correct answers. So, how do you start asking the right questions?
In order to correctly grasp the question we set ourselves the challenge of finding a business that had seen amazing success over the past few years. Going from an idea to a globally recognised business shows true leadership, but most importantly, it shows the constant battle of finding the correct solution. Fine tuning the skill of learning how to ask the right questions.
A few weeks into our search we were introduced to a promising software company. Voted Marketing Week’s 100 most Disruptive Brands, they have already had the backing by some of the world leader in tech including Intel, nPower, University of Greenwich and The Club House.
Welcome Chargifi. A wireless charging network that allows you to charge your technology wirelessly at coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and other public places. Founded in 2013 by Dan Bladen and Charlie Cannell, they now operate in eight international markets.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the right question to ask and 5 minutes thinking about the solution.”
Trying the same thing over and over is madness, so what is it about getting it right that first time round? Speaking with Dan, he explained he had his first wondering thought when traveling and not being able to charge his mobile. “Why can’t I receive wireless power just like we receive wifi”?
I think we can all agree, there are a lot of people who can write a whole book on why it’s impossible. But how many people are willing to solve those limitations. Not only that, the key is to keep questioning how it works, enough to understand how it can be solved.
Over the past decade we have all seen connectivity change the way we live our lives. Wifi, cellular data, contactless, and bluetooth are all technologies that has made accessing data almost thoughtless. The Internet of things, like Nest thermostat, is on the rise but cafes and restaurants find it hard to keep up. Offering free wifi doesn’t necessarily have the same pull effect it use to have a few years ago.
Power is also the most important important ingredient in today’s digital economy. There’s a reason why the iPhone is 75% battery space. Without it your not going to be WhatApp-ing your friends, looking up Google maps, or calling anyone in an emergency. This is when Dan and Charlie asked another important question:
“Why don’t cafe’s and restaurants offer free wireless charging points in order to keep people topped up and attract customers in”?
It’s important to understand the connection between the problem and the solution in the question. Try reading the question again — The answer was, because nothing existed. Creating a business around solving a specific market problem is what Dan and his team have focused on.
Many businesses end up falling into the non-problem-solving pitfall because of the lack of research or discussion. It’s a completely different approach to, what only you think the problem is then trying to solve that. Making Chargifi an answer to a real consumer issue is why they are convinced that they are on to a great idea. “You can rid the world of broken iPhone cables and always remained charged whenever you come across Chargifi.”
“It’s a funny thing: People are sometimes afraid to ask questions out of fear of seeming “stupid.” And yet the smartest people on the planet are often the ones who ask the most questions.”
We decided to asked Dan what he wanted to be when he grew up. We understood people struggle with battery life and shops are looking to attract customers how do you go about solving that for everyone?
“We’re on the brink of an explosion in the world of wireless power so we’re not fighting for success. It’s more about educating the market on the benefits of wireless power. We’ve refined our focus to incredible insight and now we can offer products to venues and workplaces, all which uses our software.”
It was clear to us that being a software company the team at Chargifi were great at thinking outside the box and spotting gaps in the market. Working with local restaurants in London they have now created a dongle which cafes and other restaurants can now give out to customers. Once plugged and at a charging point your good to go.[caption id="attachment_4808" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Chargifi with a wireless charging point[/caption]
The team actually managed to figure out and focus on one of the most important aspect of business. Educating the market. Just as Wifi started with dongles, your business need to start somewhere. From there, it’s not hard to imagine a world where power is accessible as you walk down your high street over the next decade.
“First time startups need a blend of ignorance and confidence. I was 25 when I started.Charlie was working at BT Open zone. We had to leverage all our friends networks. Family was important as well.”
As entrepreneurs, we have to get in the habit of asking yourself “why”. It helps us improve, gain knowledge and come out with best solutions to help our business grow. Talking with Dan we now see it’s one of the best tool we can use to spark up new ideas.
In the end, like children businesses should not be scared of asking too many questions. Unlike adults, businesses need to maintain that questioning mindset. It’s how top CEO’s and Founder expand globally and keep their businesses innovative.