At the start of your business journey, you understand the importance of external financing to drive business growth. A knockout pitch deck is your one-way ticket to that financing, and problem-solution slides are a critical element of any successful pitch deck.
Ready to learn how to design a problem-solution section of your pitch deck?
Let’s do it!
Why is a problem-solution section important in a pitch deck?
As a brief presentation of your business’s plan, products, and growth capacity, your pitch deck is a window for VCs into your current business standing and its scope for future success. It sets the narrative for your business, and as any good storyteller will tell you, good narratives are presented through the same tried-and-tested formula:
First, there’s a problem; then there’s a solution. Unless it’s a tragedy – there’s no solution to a tragedy.
Pitch decks are no different. The problem-solution narrative is an essential weapon in your fundraising arsenal. A customer faces a Problem, which is framed by the presentation of extensive research within your pitch deck. VCs understand that problem; they get it.
Your business is the Solution, asserted by a few visually stunning slides in the pitch deck.
At Waveup, we’re all about the narrative. We’re obsessed. With over 500 projects in our portfolio, we elevate our clients’ business stories from amateur efforts to something powerfully informative and visually stunning.
We want to tell you how to build a relatable Problem narrative in your pitch deck before presenting your business as a convincing Solution.
How to present the Problem
As a business owner or startup leader, it’s easy to get carried away and go straight for the kill.
But we’re not going to present our business as the Earth-shattering Solution you know it is just yet. We’re nowhere near ready to sell the Solution.
Where do we start when presenting the problem-solution section of our pitch deck?
The first thing we do is present the Problem. Not our Problem, but the problem prevalent for users in our industry; an important, pressing issue that needs resolving. At this point, you should answer questions such as…
What are the biggest pains in my industry at this moment in time?
Which facts and figures can I use to illustrate the accurate scale of these pains?
In this example from Waveup, we find a statistic that proves the Problem: “65% of owners struggle to…”. To support this, we can see three points illustrating reasons and causes. Finally, this slide explains why other solutions to the Problem have failed. We’ve answered all potential investor questions about a market need for the Solution by including these essential elements.
Why should we bother presenting the Problem?
The Problem lays the foundation to build a convincing argument for your Solution.
It’s context and relevance for where your product or service fits within crowded markets. Without a problem to solve, your business can’t exist and won’t be invested in. Without a Problem, your pitch deck is pointless; your purpose isn’t explicit, and your narrative is incomplete.
The Problem slides: Must-haves
The Problem slide is a must-have in your pitch deck, full of must-have elements itself, including…
Facts, figures, and statistics that highlight the scale of the Problem
User insights, case studies, and use cases explaining the Problem from a user’s perspective
An explanation of how existing solutions and competitors are not solving the Problem
There are three types of people in the world: Those who rely on quantitative data, those who rely on qualitative data, and those who rely on both. Reach them all.
Quantitative data is the facts and figures that provide concrete, numerical evidence of the Problem. Qualitative data offers an on-the-ground experience of the Problem from end users and their case studies. It’s all relevant for readers, who can see, understand, and relate to the presented Problem.
This example from Opendoor illustrates pain points at every stage of the house-buying process. It uses plenty of use-case, qualitative data to support these pain points.
The Problem slides: Must-nots
At Waveup, we see many of the same mistakes made in Problem slides…
Problems presented are too general, too numerous, or too unspecific
The Problem is irrelevant or dreamt up to match a market demand that doesn’t exist
Fact and figure overload; too many statistics on one page
A Problem slide which hits on too many problems or hits on a Problem that is too broad and nonspecific dilutes its message. A Problem slide is designed to have an impact on its reader. It’s a similar story when Problems are imagined to shoe in a product-market fit – they’re irrelevant.
Finally, no matter how good your qualitative and quantitative data is, less is more. Statistics have a better impact when used sparingly.
How to present the Solution
Having grabbed your potential investor’s attention with a relevant, relatable, and prominent Problem, your product or service enters the spotlight. At this point, it’s important not to list features and facts about your product, but to structure them in a way that sells your business as the Solution.
We start with a general product presentation, which is more complex than it sounds.
At Waveup, we believe in the importance of this section to deliver the aha moment on the next slide, right after presenting the Problem. We’ve got loads of experience doing so. Only after this are we ready to build the narrative for our value proposition and the foundations for the rest of our pitch deck.
Here, Waveup clearly and concisely explains the Solution. While there are many ways to do this, the best way is to take a straightforward approach and simply introduce the Solution. The reader needs no more than three seconds to understand what the Solution is, how it works, and how this solution solves the problem mentioned above.
How do we structure The Solution slides in our pitch deck?
The Solution sits at the heart of your pitch deck. At this point, we should…
Frame the product or service as a direct remedy to the Problem
Outline an ongoing product or service vision for the Solution
The Solution Slides are where your business starts to sell itself, its product or service. As we mentioned earlier, a pitch deck is a tragedy without the Solution.
Without the Solution, there is only the Problem.
The Solution slides: Must-haves
Similarly to the Problem slides, Solution slides consist of several must-have features…
A broad explanation of your product or service in simple, layman’s terms
A more in-depth look at which features are part of your product or service
A focus on the benefits of the Solution and how it improves customers’ lives
An indication as to whether patented or proprietary technology lies at the heart of the Solution
Are there any industry-specific must-haves for your Solution slides?
If your business is set to truly revolutionize an industry, draw parallels with established market disruptors who have already revolted in their respective niches. Show that your targeted industry is behind the transformation, and your Solution is the one to redefine it.
Furthermore, be concise but informative, provide benefits, not specifications, and be proud of your patent.
The Solution slides: Must-nots
Creating a Solution slide is a delicate balancing act. Avoid the following…
Wordy, self-indulgent product descriptions
A jam-packed list of all possible features the Solution offers
Having a Solution that doesn’t match the Problem presented
It’s important not to get too carried away with rambling product descriptions, otherwise they lose focus and impact. Similarly, we don’t need a comprehensive list of all product features at this point, only the important ones. Keep it simple. There’s plenty of space in the product section of your pitch deck for that.
Finally, and obviously, the Solution offered must solve the Problem we mentioned earlier. If not… What’s the point?
Signal.ai, a rising PR tech company, raised $50 million. Their solution slide describes the Solution with minimum fuss in a minimum word count. Design is the key to success, and this slide is designed in a way that highlights the Solution’s main features. It’s proof that there’s no need to include all your features in one slide. Again, keep it simple.
Want to see more successful examples of presenting the Solution in a pitch deck?
The Problem sets the narrative for your business, offering some understanding of your thought process behind its foundation and where it sits in the market. The Solution is your business, and this section of your pitch deck categorically asserts that your product or service solves the Problem presented.
If you remember one thing from this article, let it be this:
Without the Problem, your business is pointless; without the Solution, there is only the Problem.
The problem-solution section of your pitch deck is key to grabbing VC attention and giving them a bitesize lowdown of your business and its product-market fit. Conicity, relevance, and design are essential.