Customers care about the Business Problem not the Process Problem

I've recently started to find the concept of an executive summary (as opposed to a pitch deck) really appealing. I'll give a quick shout out to my friend Jason Tagler a GP at Camden Partners and the founder of Pitch Creator, who I credit for turning me on to this with Pitch Creator's use of the "Read Me Pitch".

I really like the fact that in an executive summary it's much easier to get a clear understanding of the business and gives the entrepreneur a greater ability to describe any one aspect of their business. One interesting trend I've begun to notice because of this however, is that many entrepreneurs (experienced ones included) often describe the problem they're solving in terms of process and opposed to the business level problem.

Let's use an example to describe what I mean here.

Here's a what a process problem description could look like: "Administrators are still focused on trying to organize all of their information and data using a mix of old spreadsheets and paper files. This is incredibly time consuming, inefficient, and results in incredibly poor and often delayed communication of that information with the rest of the company."

Here's how that same problem would be described from the business perspective: "Because administrators are currently unable to handle and effectively communicate with the rest of the company, the business lacks the organizational capacity to go after $X worth of new business opportunities each month."

Focusing on the process problem is much the same as having too great a focus on the tech. Founders get too into the weeds of how to build the most powerful technical solution to make the process more efficient all the while, forgetting why the customer actually cares about solving that problem in the first place.

From the perspective of the decision makers, likely executives/business owners in this case, if the problem is described in terms of process then the perceived benefits might be: you can hire less administrative staff, you can make sure files are easier to find, and you can make you employees happier because the process is simpler and the communication clearer. That's what is often referred to as a "nice to have" solution and is unlikely to really get the interest of the decision maker. They will always have a higher priority to focus their time on because the benefits of solving the process problem are not going to have a huge ROI for the business.

Framing the same circumstances in terms of the business problem is likely to yield a very different response from decision makers. Now the focus is less on the headache the status quo is causing administrators and more on the $X in additional business they are losing out on each month. If $X is relatively significant, especially compared with the risks/costs of your product, then it's likely to gain a lot more interest and rise significantly in the customer's priority list.

When it comes time to build your product it is inevitable that you will need to get into the weeds a bit to create a proper solution, but do not take your eye off the ball. At the end of the day the product is designed to solve the business problem not the process problem because that's what customers value and that's why investors will write checks.

James Shomar
Stay In the Loop
Subscribe to our newsletter.
Privacy Policy
 | Copyright © 2023 StartFast