A problem statement is a short and succinct definition of the problem you plan to solve and why it’s important. Creating a clear problem (and opportunities) statement is an essential element for any project, as it highlights the challenges faced by customers and the business potential for solving them.
This guide will walk you through the process of crafting a clear, concise, and compelling statement that resonates with both customers and stakeholders. By following these five simple steps, you’ll be on your way to developing a successful project with a strong foundation.
Before You Start
Before you write your problem statement you should have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your intrapreneurial venture, and a clear picture of who you are solving the problem for (in other words – your ideal customer).
Then, when you have your customer persona and vision statement clear, move on to define your problem statement.
You need to be able to articulate the problem you’re solving in very simply terms.
Because it’s the first thing you’ll need to explain in a pitch. It’s what any new team member will immediately need to understand. And without it, everyone will end up solving different problems – which will ultimately lead to failure.
So, let’s get started.
(TIP: Grab the Problem Statement Canvas to follow along with the steps below. [DOWNLOAD] The Problem Statement Canvas)
Step 1: Frame Your Problem Statement with Your Project Vision
Before diving into the problem and opportunities statement, it’s crucial to have a clear vision for your project. Jot a short statement of how your customer’s world will be better when your solution exists. This will ensure you have a solid understanding of the context in which the problem exists and the outcome will deliver for your customer. Importantly, it will help you stay focused on the customer’s needs and set the stage for the rest of the process.
Step 2: Write a Simple Statement of the Problem from the Customer’s Perspective
Now that you have your project vision in mind, it’s time to define the problem you’re trying to solve. Craft a one-sentence statement that succinctly describes the issue from the customer’s point of view. This statement should be simple, yet powerful enough to convey the problem’s essence and the pain it causes.
Example: “Young professionals are struggling to find reliable, affordable, and eco-friendly transportation options for their daily commute.”
Step 3: Identify What People Do Today To Solve The Problem
With the problem identified, outline the current workarounds or alternative solutions that customers are using to deal with the issue. This information will help you and your team understand the existing landscape and identify areas where your project can offer unique value.
Example: “Today, people rely on a mix of public transportation, private vehicles, and rideshare services, all of which have their drawbacks in terms of cost, reliability, or environmental impact.”
⚠ Warning: If you can’t find any existing solutions or customer-created workarounds that people are using to address the problem, consider this a red flag. It means that the problem isn’t significant enough for customers to invest time and effort in solving, which will likely result in a lack of market demand for your solution. Your best bet in this case is to move on to other problems with greater potential for success.
Step 4: Identify Why This is an Important Problem to Solve
Next, explain why solving this problem is vital for the customer. Describe the consequences if the issue remains unresolved, and highlight the benefits of addressing it. Remember, your solution should be important enough that customers will be willing to spend money on it.
Example: “If left unsolved, this problem contributes to increased pollution, higher transportation costs, and longer commutes. By addressing it, we can offer customers a more sustainable, cost-effective, and dependable transportation alternative.”
Step 5: Identify The Scale of the Business Opportunity
Finally, articulate the business opportunity for your company. Describe the potential revenue and growth that can result from solving the problem, and explain why investing time and resources in this project is worthwhile. This section should be persuasive, demonstrating the value of pursuing this opportunity.
Example: “The market for eco-friendly commuting is forecast to grow to $900 billion by 2027. By developing a solution for this transportation issue, we can tap into the growing market demand for eco-friendly commuting options. With a scalable and cost-effective solution, we can establish ourselves as a leader in this space, resulting in significant revenue generation and long-term growth.”
How Intrapreneur Nation Can Help
Developing and validating your Problem Statement is something we look at in detail in the Intrapreneurship Mastery training programme. When you are ready to find out more, get in touch and one of the team will get back to you.
Creating a compelling problem and opportunities statement is crucial for the success of any project. By following these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a statement that resonates with customers and stakeholders alike. With a clear understanding of the problem, its current alternatives, and the opportunities it presents, you’ll be prepared to develop a solution that truly makes a difference.