What’s the problem?

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THE question founders should be asking their customers and that investors will be asking of founders is: “what’s the problem?”

Some overenthusiastic founding teams will want to get straight to talking about the solution without first setting the scene with the problem, but that’s a big mistake. Skipping straight to the solution will leave investors thinking ‘so what?’

A well thought out problem slide starts everyone off on the same page – a negative one. It’s the bad guy in the story the pitch deck is telling and makes the case for the company (the good guy) existing at all. Take a look at the example below…

All figures contained in this slide are made up

A good problem slide should include:

  • a problem statement
    Children’s antibiotics taste and look like bile
  • who has the problem
    All parents whose children are not kept in a protective bubble
  • the impact of the problem
    Children don’t take their antibiotics, get more sick, end up hospitalised OR parents force antibiotics down their children’s throats while screaming causing distress to both parent and child
  • the scale of the problem
    Rate of antibiotic prescriptions nationally/globally for children. Number of hospitalisations due to incompleted antibiotic prescriptions. Cost to NHS, etc.

A great problem section will go even further, perhaps getting quotes from potential customers…

See how depressed you feel now? That’s how you know a good problem slide when you see one. You’re hoping there really is a solution that can end the pain and suffering for Jenny and Bethany and their poor little tykes. It’s about building empathy. If the founders had just gone straight in with: “Medicine you don’t have to take!” it wouldn’t have had quite the same effect.

Let’s take a look at some more examples…