Is your pitch communicating that your company is solving a real problem? Or are you telling the world that you’re building a product or service in search of a problem?

Watch the video to learn more about the “Problem, Solution, Approach” slide that could be a game-changer for your pitch deck.

What You’ll Learn

  • How a company like Nest might define their problem, solution, and approach
  • How I’ve used the “Problem, Solution, Approach” technique with my own companies

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“Build a startup that’s solving a real problem — not a startup in search of a problem.”

What is the problem that your company is setting out to solve? Tell me in the comments.

Full video transcript below.

I find that a helpful technique within a business plan is to lay out clearly what the problem is that your business is addressing and what your solution is to that problem. It’s not that every business plan requires this exact format of problem, solution. It’s that many businesses I see build solutions for problems that don’t exist, or problems they can’t even identify. And as a result, as the reader, I’m left feeling like this is a solution in search of a problem.

Think about Nest — they built a smart thermostat for the home. On first glance, you would say this helps me when I’m away from my house and coming home. If it’s too cold, I can remotely turn up the temperature. Or if it’s too hot, I can remotely turn on the air conditioner and cool it down before I get there.

But Nest was solving a much bigger problem. Nest was saying that thermostats contribute to energy inefficiency. People leave the heater or air conditioner on for too long when they’re not home, and if they could build a motion sensor inside a thermostat, then the thermostat would be smart enough to adjust the temperature when you weren’t there to save the homeowner money. More than saving more money, it could contribute to this entire ecosystem of home heating and cooling energy efficiency. That’s solving a problem. And by articulating the solution to that problem, Nest found their North Star.

In my own businesses, when we started MeetMoi, we were aware of a very specific problem, in desktop dating had become very time-consuming and inefficient. People used Excel spreadsheets to track who they communicated with, and even calendaring dates was incredibly time-consuming. We thought that if we could incorporate location into a mobile experience, that we could suggest places for people to meet as we matched them, maybe even places that were equidistant between two users.

By identifying the problem, you don’t guarantee that your solution will work. But you guarantee that your solution for the product you’re building has a market, and then if you can build your design or service or product that satisfactorily addresses the problem, you’re ahead of the game. That’s much better than simply building a product or service and hoping that people will like it.