Founders, Do Your Potential Investors Know You Are A Problem Solver?

By: Lauren Kane

Hopefully, your answer to this is “yes.” To be blunt, if you said “no,” then you need to get to work.

Every business solves a problem for a certain demographic, their ideal customer, but not every business can articulate the problem that they solve during a pitch. Why? Because they get lost in the solution.

Don’t get me wrong: You should be excited about the solution you offer. The solution is the shiny thing that for you, as a founder, made you want to go on this crazy start-up rollercoaster.

But here’s the problem: Potential investors won’t be able to get excited about your company if they don’t see why there’s a need for it. That’s where the problem comes in.

The problem sells.

Accurately portraying the problem that your customers have gives potential investors an idea of who you are selling to, and they start to get an idea of the potential your product has in the marketplace. It plants the seed for the rest of your pitch.

[Related: Five Essential Skills for Making a Great First Impression in Business]

The problem connection.

You should be talking about the problem at the beginning of your pitch, because not only does it help sell your solution, it also has the amazing power to connect with your ideal investors.

If you can get in a room (or Zoom call) with investors hooked on the problem by establishing an emotional connection, they will be more engaged with the rest of your pitch. They’ll have more of a drive to want to know about your solution.

The problem removes the expert boundary.

I hear so often from entrepreneurs that they struggle with how to pitch to investors that might not be an expert in or educated on the sector they’re in.

If you can make the problem relatable, then it doesn’t matter who you are talking to — anyone will be able to see where there is a need for your solution.

[Related: Commit to a Business Growth Strategy You Can Believe In]

Relating to the problem.

My clients, female entrepreneurs, repeatedly say that their companies aren’t easily understood by men. And a lot of times they’re right, because they aren’t establishing connections and making their products relatable, even if the investors aren’t their customers.

Say you have a product that is specific to a female market: bras, period products, femtech, etc. Yes, these products on the surface aren’t something men are going to understand. But you can start the journey to get them to a place of understanding by starting with a problem that is relatable to them. A problem connector.

Problem connectors.

A problem connector takes a problem that your audience has and uses it to connect to the problem your customers have.

The first step is to understand your audience. In most cases, you will be pitching to almost all men and almost all white men. But do some research before each meeting or pitch to know who you are talking to.

In the second step, consider what problem they have that could lead them to the problem your customers have. In the case of bras, maybe you are making them more comfortable for women in a revolutionary way. What is a piece of clothing that men hate to wear because it’s uncomfortable? Suits, ties, etc. Can you come up with a problem connector?

If you are struggling, ask the people in your life for help that are in a similar demographic.

The last step is to have fun and be creative. Make it memorable, because it makes you more memorable.

Once you figure out how to make the problem the star at the beginning of your pitch, the rest should more easily fall into place.

[Related: Can Storytelling Make or Break an Innovation?]

Lauren Kane is a Pitch Strategist, Angel Investor, and Founder of VC Worthy Business. She has worked with female entrepreneurs for a decade.

Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.

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