Most people don't care about your products or services. They want to know what you can do for them.

That is why most investor and sales presentations start by selling the problem. By empathizing with their challenges and demonstrating a clear understanding of their pain points, you position yourself as a credible source for solutions.

In this video series, you'll learn how to craft a compelling pitch deck problem and opportunity slide.

Know What They Want

Most wants and needs fall under three categories.

1. Stop The Pain

Does your ideal customer have a critical problem, challenge, or obstacle that needs an immediate solution to stop the pain? Stopping pain constitutes an essential category that requires immediate attention.

People are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the pain. They will also pay anything to stop that pain, especially to someone who understands what they are going through.

The better you become at describing the pain, the more likely people experiencing that pain will consider your solutions.

2. Prevention

Does your ideal customer need prevention to prevent future pain? Prevention is usually a harder sell because many procrastinate and only seek help when it is too late. People typically ask for help when they or someone they know has already experienced a loss, which might sometimes be too late.

You'll need to work harder at describing future pain and future loss and the consequences of waiting until it is too late.

3. Pleasure

Your customer's desired state is not always about solving problems or preventing obstacles. It could be about experiencing pleasure, comfort, or convenience. It could also be about pride of ownership.

There are several story frameworks to convey the problem effectively, tailored to different audience segments. For buyers experiencing pain, storytelling plays a crucial role. On the other hand, investors seek data-driven insights to assess investment opportunities.

Key Elements of an Effective Problem Slide

  • Empathy: Show understanding and empathy for the target market's pain points. Describe their challenges and convey why addressing their problems matters to them.
  • Data and Facts: Provide statistical evidence and factual data to substantiate the severity and scale of the problem. Investors, in particular, rely on data to assess the viability of investment opportunities.
  • Short and Powerful Writing: Craft concise and impactful statements on the problem slide. Aim for brevity to ensure the slide is easy to scan and digest.

Frameworks for Problem Slide Design

Common frameworks include:

Overview, Impact, Framing

  • Overview: Define the problem faced by the target audience.
  • Impact: Highlight the negative consequences and challenges resulting from the problem.
  • Framing: Provide context by specifying who is affected by the problem.

Problem Identify, Challenges, Impact

  • Problem Identify: Clearly articulate the main problem.
  • Challenges: Pinpoint the specific challenges arising from the problem.
  • Impact: Emphasize the adverse effects of the problem on users and businesses.


  • WHAT: Define the problem faced by the target audience.
  • HOW: Illustrate the severity of the problem and its impact.
  • WHAT: Specify the scale and magnitude of the problem.

Experiment with different frameworks and tailor your approach based on your audience's preferences and needs.

Often referred to as the “why now” slide, this component of your pitch deck explains why it's imperative to promptly address the current state of affairs.

You can address the “why now” story on your problem slide. However, in some cases, there could be extra details that you can add to your story. For example, there might be new regulations or deadlines to address.

By articulating the immediate need for action and substantiating it with relevant reasons, you can effectively engage your audience and motivate them to embrace your solutions.

Experiment with various frameworks and formats to find the approach that resonates best with your audience and aligns with your overall pitch deck narrative.

Remember, conveying urgency is not just about stating the problem; it's about compelling your audience to act now.

Addressing your target market in your pitch deck story is essential for capturing investor interest, building strong relationships with your audience, and guiding internal teams toward success. By employing strategic approaches to identify, understand, and communicate with your target market, you can enhance the effectiveness of your pitch deck presentations and increase your chances of achieving your business objectives.

Strategies for Addressing Your Target Market

Specificity in Problem Identification:

  • Articulate who is facing the problem your solution aims to address. If necessary, dedicate additional slides to provide details about your target market.
  • Utilize the Elimination Process:
  • Create lists of individuals or entities that need your solutions. Develop negative buyer personas to avoid wasting resources on marketing efforts that target unlikely buyers.

Develop User Personas:

  • Craft user personas to delve deeper into your target audience's characteristics and preferences. To humanize the target market, include demographics, goals, interests, motivations, fears, and frustrations.

Understand that the end user may not always be the decision-maker in purchasing scenarios. Remember to tailor messaging and strategies based on the roles and responsibilities of individuals involved in the buying process.

Elements That Impact Your Investor Pitch Deck

Investor communication isn't just about asking for money—it's about conveying a narrative that instills confidence in your project or business. Investors seek assurance that your venture is not only viable but also holds promise for substantial returns.

Your story should address key questions:

  1. Is there a market need for your solution?
  2. Do you and your team possess the competence and reliability to execute the plan?
  3. What is the potential return on investment (ROI), monetary or otherwise?

Tailoring Your Story to Different Investors

Investment opportunities vary across different stages of business development and cater to diverse investor preferences.

Here's a breakdown of how your narrative can adapt:

  • Workplace Impact: Emphasize how your project enhances overall company profitability.
  • Lending Institutions: Highlight repayment capabilities and timely interest payments.
  • Angel Investors: Showcase positive cash flow and growth potential.
  • Venture Capitalists: Focus on a high-growth exit strategy and massive ROI.
  • Grants/Awards: Emphasize social causes, job creation, and community impact.
  • Stock Market: Illustrate potential for stock price appreciation or dividend payments.
  • Intellectual Properties: Highlight proprietary technologies or access to exclusive assets.
  • Industry Sector: Tailor your pitch to the tech or non-tech sector based on funding opportunities.

Navigating Business Phases

Businesses typically progress through four phases. Each phase demands a nuanced approach to funding:

  • Idea Phase: Secure initial funding from founders, friends, family, or grants to validate market needs.
  • Startup Phase: Attract small business loans and angel investors with early sales traction.
  • Growth Phase: Break even and access additional funding through loans or venture capital.
  • Mature Phase: Engage with larger investors for acquisitions, IPOs, or strategic partnerships.

Key Considerations for Investors

Investors prefer opportunities that demonstrate the following:

  1. Growing Market: Show increased demand and market potential for your solution.
  2. Market Gap: Address an underserved segment or unmet need within the market.
  3. Ambiguous Market: Seize opportunities in emerging categories or industries undergoing transformation.

By tailoring your narrative to resonate with different funding sources and highlighting the potential for growth and impact, you can effectively engage investors and secure the support needed to propel your venture forward.

Pitch Deck Problem Slide Summary & Tips

When crafting your pitch deck problem story, remember the following tips.

  • Customization is Key: Tailor your message according to your audience and context. Adjust the content to suit the conversation, whether one slide or three. There's no one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Focus on Describing the Problem: Master articulating the problem your venture aims to solve. The clearer your depiction, the easier it becomes to resonate with others and attract those needing your solutions.
  • Seek Feedback: Engage with existing clients or people facing the problem. Their insights and language can significantly enhance your understanding and narrative.
  • Stay Flexible with Target Market: Be open to revising your target market based on feedback and evolving market dynamics. Adaptability is crucial as your story evolves with market insights.
  • Understand Investor Expectations: Investors seek assurance that you are genuinely committed to addressing the problem. Conveying personal investment and dedication can instill confidence in potential backers.
  • Empower Your Team: Ensure your team comprehensively understands the problem and its significance. Their alignment with the narrative enables them to contribute effectively towards developing solutions and providing customer support.
  • Recognize Even Fun Experiences Solve Problems: Even ventures focused on entertainment or leisure ultimately guide individuals from their current state to a desired outcome. Recognize the value your venture adds, regardless of the industry.

By honing your problem opportunity story, you lay the foundation for engaging presentations, persuasive pitches, and meaningful connections with investors and clients alike.


Using the principles from the videos above, create one or more slides to convey the following:

  • WHAT: Describe the problem you are solving?
  • WHO: Who is facing this problem?
  • WHY: Why is it important to solve this problem?
  • WHY NOW: Why is this matter urgent?
  • WHY YOU: Why do you personally care about solving this problem?

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