Pitching VCs: Explain The Problem Before The Solution

When pitching your business to an investor, here's a tip.

Make sure that your audience (the investor) fully understands the nature and size of the problem that you're solving before jumping into how you're going to solve it.

Put the Why before the What.

The investor is thinking:

  • what is the problem that needs solving?
  • who has this problem?
  • how many of them are there?
  • how do they solve the problem now (if they do)?
  • what other solutions are there out there (competitors)?
  • why is this the right time to solve this problem?

That's the Problem.

Next comes the Solution:

  • what alternative solutions could there be?
  • what is your solution / vision?
  • why is this solution the best way to solve the problem?
  • how do you know this?
  • why are you the best team / person to solve this?
  • do you have a solid plan of what you need to do?

It's much easier to focus on the Solution if you understand the Problem. It gives context.

The Problem generally concerns the market and the Solution is the product. Together they lead to product-market fit (or not).

A big Problem represents a big opportunity, potentially a big return.

I sometimes come across entrepreneurs who jump straight into explaining the Solution. Often they do understand the problem but they've not articulated it clearly enough for me to understand why their Solution makes sense.

Problem before Solution is a technique that does not apply only to pitching investors. It's relevant in any situation where you are presenting an idea which solves a problem.

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