Throw half a dozen entrepreneurs together in a room with a whiteboard, and they can come up with a thousand business ideas in a few hours. It is the nature of entrepreneurship. Our brains are wired to monitor what could be better And how that gap in the market can be turned into an opportunity. In other words, ideas are cheap and nothing is so great that it’s impossible to improve. However, not all problems are worth solving.
There are two common problems with the problem slide. Some founders are tempted to dive into the weeds on this slide and explain the competitive landscape, market size, customer segments, value propositions, and more. I understand the temptation – the problem formulation touches many aspects of the business – but this is neither the time nor the place.
The other common problem I see in pitch decks is the absence of a problem slide. This happens especially often with founders who think their solution and product slides are so good that the problem itself is obvious and a slide talking about it is unnecessary. That’s a mistake. Even if the problem is universally understood, it is helpful to see how a founder phrases the problem. There are some elegant ways to do that. Let’s talk about it.
What’s the problem?
Being able to clearly outline the problem is a crucial first step in explaining why people might want a solution. Briefly and clearly explaining what the problem is can be surprisingly difficult for some companies, while others have a much easier path to problem definition.
A few examples:
Now we can argue about what the market size, customer segment and sensitivity of each of these are, but all of the above are real problems that companies are trying to solve.