Pitch Deck 101 Series – Post #3: Defining the problem in your pitch presentation

The ever-popular problem/solution approach – followed by many startups when detailing the needs that the market or customers are perceived to have, and the solution they offer to address these needs. Everybody knows it’s a key section in the pitch that provides a great opportunity to demonstrate a sound understanding of the market, convey key product messages and win the audience over early on. However, this part of the pitch is not easy to get right, and only a few startups manage to nail it. We wanted to share some of our thoughts regarding the problem and solution section of the pitch deck to help you make the most of this opportunity. We shall look at the problem first in this blog post, and then we can focus on the solution in another post.

As before, in the Pitches of Paradise Pitch Deck 101 Series we are giving you some straight-up presentation tips and tricks, so that you can build the best pitch deck for your startup. Let’s crack on!

Venturespring Pitch-off 2019

Most startups begin their pitch by describing the problem and their solution, but it’s seldom done in an engaging way

In this post we have already shared some basic tips to help dramatise your pitch from the start with an introduction that engages the audience and, potentially, demonstrates the problem and solution as well. The understanding of the problem is necessary for your audience to appreciate your product as a solution; therefore, you need to address it early on in the pitch, even if you decided to start your presentation with something else (ie. introducing your team, cracking on with your product, telling a story, etc.)

Address the problem by defining the core insights based on the real-world needs or pain-points of the market and your customers

Detailing the problem really just means that you present the real-world market or customer insights to justify for the audience what made you come up with your product idea and why you think there is an actual need for your solution in the market. This is important because more than 40% of startups fail due to lack of sufficient market need for their products. Now, these insights must be based on a set of needs or pain-points that certain market players may have, and these needs or pains are identified, observed and, in an ideal world, validated by your startup in market research and/or in resources produced by reputable third parties. 

Two of the factors that may determine how much trust your audience awards your product when being presented with the problem are: a.) the strength of the insights you are using; and b.) the credibility of your research and the external resources that you are tapping into.

The strongest insights with the highest market potential are based on unmet needs identified and validated with razor-sharp precision

All startups are under the firm belief that their products target real pain with actual needs in the market (and it’s certainly possible that some of them try to address misperceived or illusory pain-points that don’t actually exist in the market), which often attract a good amount of competition as the market entry barriers are lower. The golden egg that everybody is looking for is identifying unmet needs that represent pain-points in the market with no satisfactory solution or remedy available to them. These lucrative opportunities may come with lower competition due to higher barriers to entry. Whatever the case with your product, the more precisely and thoroughly the needs are identified, the more justice you can do to the problem section of your pitch.

Combining the tangible and intangible aspects of the insights will yield the best results when presenting the problem

The insights can be described on the functional level with data that can promote a tangible and practical understanding in your audience about the problem (ie. 30% of smallholder farmers in Afghanistan have low access to crop fertilisers, or two out of three office workers in Berlin are only allowed to work from home less than two days per month). The abstract side of the insights, providing the intangible or emotional perspective, is often omitted (ie. Reshad could potentially feed his family a more diverse diet should he have more regular access to crop fertilisers, or studies show that office workers may be more prone to manifest symptoms of early-stage burnout than remote workers). This latter approach may sound softer, but it can play an invaluable role in drawing your audience in and bringing them onside.

Hope you enjoyed it, please give us a thumbs up if you liked this advice and share your comments below. Check out our other posts for some more tips & tricks.

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With Pitches of Paradise, Mate Kovacs and our team of experts at Water Lily Pond are offering you a unique combination of strategy, storytelling, creative content and design to take your startup’s pitch deck to new levels. Get started now!


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