The Needless “Market Need” Section

Instead of a“framing slide” as the way to begin a pitch, most entrepreneurs are coached to start a pitch with a long section – the longer the better – on the “market need” for which their product or service is a solution.

It’s not uncommon for a pitch deck of forty slides to have 15 or 20 on this topic, covering these kinds of issues:

  • The absolute misery of people who suffer from the problem
  • The vast numbers of people affected
  • The profound inadequacy of existing “solutions” to the problem
  • The size of the affected market.

Nothing wrong with this kind of discussion in and of itself, but the first words on the first pitch are probably not the place to do so at length.

Why?

Because pitchees will rapidly sort into three groups:

  1. Those who understand the market-need argument and agree that the market is a big one
  2. Those who understand the market-need argument and think it’s not a big one
  3. Those who don’t know where they stand but are willing to stipulate that the market need is big in order to see what you have to say about: who your team is, what your solution is, and how much it’s going to cost them (in other words, the stuff that should go on the framing slide).

Emphasis here is on “rapidly”.  I would guess I go into one of these three buckets midway through the first slide on the market need.

If my experience is typical – and the investors I’ve spoken to seem to agree that it is – then the Solution Pitching approach to Market Need to have one slide on market need, not twenty.

What might be on this slide?

  • The problem: “people spend collective years driving cars to work.”
  • Some argument about size: “Commuters spend $40B per year on autos, public transit, air travel, and rail.”
  • Some argument about market adoption: “Commuters have not adopted teleportation in the past because 10% of the transmitted people were not successfully re-constituted on the receiving end.”

So, enough detail so that your audience knows what problem you’re proposing to solve, why it’s a big potentially lucrative market, and why the market will be ready for your solution.

The rest of the “market needs” slides can go into the back of deck as an appendix in case more detailed questions come up.  There will certainly be more discussion about the market, and I will say more about it in a subsequent post.

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