The problem slide in a pitch deck is really important. Making it is quite a challenge, and we know this well as a pitch deck agency. While a pitch deck usually starts with the title slide, it's the problem slide that truly grabs the attention of potential investors.
This problem slide is a litmus test of the founders' understanding of the market they intend to serve. It not only reveals the depth of their market knowledge but also reflects the competence of the founder in steering their startup toward success. In essence, a great deal hinges on the effectiveness of the problem slide, including your standing as a founder in the eyes of potential investors.
So, within this article, we'll break down what the problem slide in a pitch deck is, and why it is important to articulate your problem statement with precision. Moreover, we'll provide practical tips and insights to guide you in crafting a compelling problem slide.
What is a problem slide in a pitch deck?
The problem slide in a pitch deck is where you clearly outline the specific challenge or issue your business aims to solve. It serves as a concise statement of the problem your target audience faces, creating a compelling case for the necessity of your solution.
For example, in a pitch deck for a ride-sharing startup, the problem slide might state: "The problem we're addressing is the inconvenience and inefficiency of traditional taxi services. People often struggle to find a ride quickly, and drivers face uncertainty about their earnings. This problem results in longer wait times for passengers and lower incomes for drivers.
Why is it important to articulate your problem statement in a pitch deck?
A clear and well-articulated problem statement helps to…
Communicate the value proposition of the business - convince the audience that the business is addressing a real and important need.
Build credibility - shows that the business has done its homework and is addressing a real and pressing need.
Focus the pitch - ensure that the rest of the pitch stays centered on the problem and the solution that the business is offering.
Make the pitch more relatable - establish a connection with the audience and make the pitch more compelling and engaging.
So, how do you create an effective pitch deck problem slide?
Here are some tips to help you get started...
1. Clearly define the problem
The first step in creating a problem slide is to clearly define the problem that your product or service is solving. This should be a problem that is significant and relevant to your target market. Be specific and avoid using vague language or generalizations.
The best pitch deck problem slides I’ve seen have 3 major problem statements that clearly state the problem & subtle content tweaks that indicate the target market’s persona.
Imagine you're presenting a pitch deck for a mobile app that offers personal finance management. Your problem slide might include three problem statements:
"People struggle with tracking their expenses and managing their finances effectively, leading to financial stress and uncertainty."
"Existing finance apps are often complex and intimidating for average users, discouraging them from budgeting effectively."
"Young professionals, in particular, find it challenging to save and invest due to a lack of financial literacy and user-friendly tools."
2. Explain the consequences of the problem
In addition to defining the problem, it’s important to explain the consequences of the problem. This can help to illustrate the urgency and importance of the problem and how it impacts your target market.
Ideally, a problem slide in a pitch deck is only one slide, but if you’re determined to define your problem statement in detail, you can add one more slide that shows the consequences if the problems aren’t solved.
Let's say your pitch deck is for a new health and fitness app. Your problem slide might define the problem: "Many people struggle to stay motivated to exercise regularly, leading to a lack of physical activity and associated health issues." To elaborate on the consequences, you could add another slide: "If this issue persists, the consequences include increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and decreased overall well-being. Our target market, health-conscious individuals, may continue to struggle with their fitness goals and experience diminished quality of life if a solution isn't provided." This second slide further emphasizes the importance of addressing the problem.
3. Use data to support your claims
To make your problem slide more persuasive, use data to support your claims. This can include market research, industry statistics, or customer feedback.
Your startup is your passion & no one knows the existing problems better than you. On the other hand, investors may or may not be aware of the problems as you are. In such cases, data validation helps define a problem in a pitch deck. Also, if the numbers are alarming, it also helps attract the investor’s attention.
Example, Imagine you're presenting a pitch deck for a new e-learning platform. Your problem slide could state: "There's a significant need for high-quality online education, particularly among remote learners." To support this claim, you could introduce data: "According to a recent survey, 85% of students enrolled in online courses expressed the desire for more interactive and engaging learning materials. Additionally, market research predicts that the global e-learning market will reach $375 billion by 2026, reflecting the substantial demand for innovative online educational solutions.
4. Offer a solution
While the problem slide is focused on the problem, it’s also important to offer a solution. This can help to demonstrate how your product or service is uniquely positioned to solve the problem and provide value to your target market.
We see many pitch decks with this grave mistake. The problem slide & the solution aren’t in sync. If the problem slide defines 3 problems, the solution slide should have 3 answers to those 3 problems. Or else what’s the point of bringing attention to the problems if you’re not offering a relevant solution?
Suppose you're pitching a revolutionary energy-efficient home heating system. Your problem slide might state: "Traditional heating systems are costly, inefficient, and environmentally harmful." To ensure alignment with your solution, your following slide could present a clear remedy: "Our innovative heating technology is designed to reduce energy consumption, lower heating costs, and minimize environmental impact. By employing advanced insulation and smart temperature control, we provide an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution for homeowners, addressing all three major pain points.
5. Keep it brief
It’s essential to be concise when creating your problem slide. Investors and other stakeholders are busy and don’t have time to wade through lengthy explanations. Aim for a maximum of three to four problems to clearly and effectively communicate the problem.
If you ask any entrepreneur, they can easily list 10–15 problems their startup solves. That’s a good thing generally but not with your pitch deck. If you’re facing this, try to eliminate it by prioritizing the 3–4 biggest problems. Once you have the top ones, put them into your pitch deck.
6. Use visual aids
The problem slide is an important part of your pitch deck, and it’s important to use visuals to support your message. This could include graphs, charts, or other visual aids that help to illustrate the problem and your solution.
Never overdesign the problem slide. Many pitch decks use heavy infographics & icons on their problem slide. That’s a big mistake. Use minimal visual aids in your problem slide. Make sure your problem slide is less designed than your solution slide. Overdesigning the problem slide makes you look problem-focused & not solution-focused.
Your problem slide identifies the issue: "Nutritional information is often hard to decipher, leading to poor dietary choices and health-related problems." To support this statement visually, you can include a simple chart displaying survey data: "80% of people find it challenging to understand nutritional labels."
7. Personalize the problem
While it’s important to be specific and use data to support your claims, it’s also helpful to personalize the problem by using customer examples or case studies. This can help to make the problem more relatable and compelling.
If your product/service offers a solution to an everyday or common problem, there’s a huge possibility that your investors face these problems too. In this case, giving a personalized face to your problem statement works with many pitch decks.
Your problem slide states: "Workplace stress and burnout are pervasive issues, with employees struggling to manage their workloads and maintain a work-life balance." To make this problem more relatable, you can include a brief case study: "Meet Sarah, a marketing manager at a top-tier advertising agency. Like many professionals, Sarah juggles multiple projects, meetings, and deadlines daily. Her persistent struggle with time management has led to increased stress, missed family events, and a declining quality of life. Sarah's experience mirrors the challenges faced by countless employees, making the problem all too real for both investors and the target market.
8. Avoid jargon
Avoid using industry jargon or technical language that may not be familiar to all stakeholders. Instead, use language that is clear and easy to understand.
Break the jargon down into smaller, more familiar pieces. For example, if you come across a term like “paradigm shift,” you can try to understand what each word means and how it relates to the overall concept. Now use easy-to-understand synonyms that relate to the concept.
Your problem slide highlights the challenge: "Our software project requires a significant paradigm shift in our development approach to achieve optimal efficiency." This statement, laden with technical jargon, may not resonate with all stakeholders.
To make it more accessible, you can break it down: "Our software project demands a substantial change in how we develop things to work better."
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The key to creating an effective problem slide is to clearly and concisely define the problem, explain why it matters, provide evidence of its existence, describe the current solution (if one exists), explain how your business solves the problem, and highlight the benefits of your solution. By following these steps and using visuals to support your message, you can create a powerful problem slide that effectively communicates the value of your business to your audience.
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