How to Create a Company With a Purpose to Address Real-Life Problems
One women-owned brand shares how it's done.
When you live and breathe the problem your business is trying to solve, it takes on greater significance—your company becomes purpose-driven. For us, the business idea for an estate planning company came about when our family had to pay $10,000 to create our parents’ estate plan. That single issue sparked a passion that has driven us to create a workable estate planning solution fit for everyone.
After the lawyers pulled out a book and read off questions word-for-word to create our parents’ estate plan, my sister and I walked out of the lawyer’s office thinking there needed to be a better way for everyone—who had not yet created their wills—to do estate planning.
As women, many of us instinctively care for more than just ourselves—we’re often caring for our kids, parents, and extended family. That’s why we named our company Gentreo—for three generations. An estimated 66% of caregivers are female. Watching over others gives us unique vantage points, which can then be applied to unique perspectives on how to address the needs of today's consumers.
Now, we are the only estate planning tech company founded and led by women. From addressing the issues faced by millions to finding creative solutions to common problems, our experiences helped us create a purpose-driven company that’s changing how people protect their families.
Let’s dig deeper on how our personal experiences can drive us to develop tools that meet our business needs, harnessing the needs of those we care for and others with similar lived experiences.
Evaluating your solution and targets
Just because you have a problem that you’re passionate about solving, it doesn’t necessarily transfer into a strong business idea.
The critical first step is to make sure that your business is economically feasible)https://bizfluent.com/how-2342194-create-feasibility-business-plan.html. Ask yourself: Is your solution to the problem unique? Is there a demand for it? Can you make a profit with the solution you’ve found? If so, you need to ensure a good market fit.
Relating and selling to your market can be two separate issues. You need to understand who all the potential targets would be. Is it other women like you? Is it other businesses? You must understand who is willing to pay for it, when they would pay, and how much they are willing to pay.
Hiring experience and consolidating structure
After creating and validating your business, you need to structure and build it. Sometimes the problem can’t be solved by you alone—you might need the help of others who are passionate and committed to finding solutions.
For example, I had the experience of working in startups and government bodies, while my sister brought caregiving, marketing, and product expertise. And this is exactly what made us such a good match.
But even this wasn’t enough. We needed to find an estate planning attorney willing to take the leap into tech and a tech person who understood our mission altogether. Thankfully, we have been fortunate to build a founding team comprised of three women and one lucky man passionate about creating a business that can change the way families do estate planning.
Be prepared to ride the ups and downs
If it’s just you or a team of founders, you all need to be enthusiastic about trying, tweaking, and finding solutions.
You’ll need that basis of passion throughout your entrepreneurial journey because starting a business has plenty of ups and downs. During those hard times, your determination and knowledge that you can make a meaningful difference will carry you through.
Our experiences as mothers, daughters, and caregivers helped us build a better way for everyone to do estate planning. We created a solution that drives us to always create a better product, and, more importantly, a better experience for our users. We lived a problem that drove us to create a company that helps solve the problems of millions—which should be your goal too.
Can you think of a situation that you’re encountering on a daily basis for which you may have found a unique solution? Does the solution also have the capacity to help a significant number of others solve it too? As women, it's our empathy and vision that equips us to take our problems and build them into strong, purpose-driven solutions.
About the Author
Renee Fry is the Co-Founder and CEO of Gentreo, an online software provider with a mission to provide affordable, accessible and easy-to-use estate planning tools for everyone. Gentreo makes it simple for families to create, save and share their estate family plan so they can sleep at night. Not just a will, it is true state-specific estate planning that is now affordable and available to all.
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