Part 2: Pitch Deck Mistakes

by Kera DeMars
problem_slide

In Part 1 of the Pitch Deck Mistake series covered length. 

Spoiler alert: It's important. Read about it here.

Today we're diving into Part 2 of this series... so strap in and get ready to talk about your problem slide.

Why is the problem slide so important?

Your pitch deck's problem slide is arguably the most important slide in your deck.

Even if you've developed the most innovative, cutting-edge technology the world has ever seen, people won't buy it if it's not solving a problem.

And if no one is buying your product, investors will not have an incentive to write you a check.

In order for a business to be VC-backable, it needs to:

  1. solve a real problem...
  2. ... that's important enough for people to pay to fix...
  3. ... and applies to a large audience

If your problem slide doesn't quickly demonstrate those three points, investors might not even look at the rest of the deck. So this slide is super important.

Now, it’s possible that you are solving a huge problem. But most pitch decks don’t do a good job explaining what that problem is. 

This can cause investors to make some assumptions about the business, like...

  • This isn’t that big of a problem
  • This is a huge problem, but people won’t pay for the solution (either because it’s too expensive or too complicated)
  • The founder hasn’t done enough customer research to understand the problem

What makes a great problem slide?

Your problem slide should give efficient and compelling responses to these three questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • How do you know it's a problem? 
  • Who needs a solution to this problem?

Here is an example of an ineffective problem slide:

  1. Airbnb hosts don't know how to market their homes to travelers
  2. The average Airbnb is vacant 15 days a month
  3. There are no tools designed for Airbnb hosts to increase their bookings

What's the problem with this example? Let's dissect it:

1 - Airbnb hosts don't know how to market their homes to travelers -

this is a broad, general statement with no data to back it up

2 - The average Airbnb is vacant 15 days a month

this doesn't capture the importance of the problem

3 - There are no tools designed for Airbnb hosts to increase their bookings

a quick Google search shows me there are tools out there. Inaccurate statements raise red flags for investors. It makes us think that you either aren't honest or haven't done your research.

Here is an example of an effective problem slide:

  • We surveyed 300 Airbnb hosts, and found that 55% don’t get any bookings for 3 months
  • The average Airbnb host is leaving $2000 a month on the table because of vacancies.
  • Existing tools don't offer incentives for hosts to continue using the platform, so they have extremely low retention rates

Let's dissect why this problem slide is effective:

1 - We surveyed 300 Airbnb hosts, and found that 55% don’t get any bookings for 3 months

shows us that you've done loads of customer research

2 - The average Airbnb host is leaving $2000 a month on the table because of vacancies.

quantifies the problem your customers are facing... this makes the problem tangible, specific, and big

3 - Existing tools don't offer incentives for hosts to continue using the platform, so they have extremely low retention rates

demonstrates that you understand why other companies are failing, and points to how your solution will be different

So, how do I fix my problem slide?

Here are a few things you can do to make your problem slide more compelling:

1) Include the data you've gathered from your customer research

2) Get specific! Including real numbers will make this slide extremely powerful

3) Remove any information about your product (this will come later)


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And check out the other parts of the Pitch Deck Mistakes series:

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5