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Pitching Your Startup? Don’t Confuse Solution and Product Slides

A startup is a temporary organization searching for a repeatable and sustainable business model. Therefore, in the early stages of your startup, you have to be:

  • Lean with the minimum organization to iterate through as many experiments as possible.

  • Nimble, to move fast and adjust according to what you learn every day.

  • Methodical to accelerate your ability to experiment, learn, and pivot your startup until you find that repeatable business.

As an evolving startup, discovering the perfect business model is crucial. This is where the magic of solution and product slides come into play.

The solution slide serves as your strategic compass, guiding you toward resolving the problem.

The product slide outlines how you will bring that strategy to life. Embrace these two powerful tools to pave the way for a successful business journey.

The Solution Slide

The solution slide highlights your team's unique approach to addressing your startup's problem.

Investors seek opportunities in vast markets with the potential for billion-dollar startups, and they place their bets on teams possessing the essential ingredients for success.

Your solution slide effectively showcases your startup's core concept and strategic response, providing a solid foundation for exploring the optimal product-market fit through various implementation pathways.

The Product Slide

The product slide demonstrates how you will execute the strategy outlined in the solution slide. Product features, or execution, can change as you receive feedback from customers and learn more about the market and competitors. You can freely pivot on the product, which is tactical, but you should rarely pivot on the solution.

It is a hierarchy of knowledge that becomes more flexible at the top. The market, and thus your solution, is relatively fixed; startups can rarely shift entire markets in their first few years of operation. The problem statement is also relatively locked in. If you are changing from one market to another or from one problem to another, chances are that your branding is incorrect and your positioning is wildly inaccurate. At that point, in most cases, there is something fundamentally wrong, and it may be best to abandon the company and start anew.

Note: Investors don’t care much about how your product works. They want to understand on a high level your execution and how your solution will be delivered to your end user/customer.

A Closing Tip!

As a founder, envisioning your business through various lenses – market, problem, solution, and product – is crucial for success. Always differentiate between solution and product levels of execution. It will liberate you when it comes to learning and adapting to what you learned about your customers and the market. Many entrepreneurs confuse these and either become too rigid in adapting their products or pivot to a completely different approach and start almost from zero.

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