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Your Business’ Problem Statement

Stuart BolgerStuart Bolger
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The problem statement allows teams to define exactly what the purpose of the business will always be so that they can revisit it when they aren’t reaching their goals

A problem statement or “mission statement” is how your business defines a problem within the market and the most basic description of the solution to that problem.

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Forming Your Own Problem Statement

To form your business statement, first start by thinking about the problem you’re trying to solve. Think about how the issue affects people’s everyday lives. For example: how does having no access ramps into public buildings affect wheelchair users? How do sky-high hotel prices affect business travellers? Be concise here.

Back up your statement with a fact or a statistic or two. For example, 3.3 million people in the US currently use wheelchairs or on average, an estimated 1.3 million business trips occur each day in the US. This gives your team, stakeholders and potential investors an idea of the scale and impact the issue has on a section of the population.

Next, explain your business’ solution to the market problem - the shorter and clearer the better. Your solution should be explained in its most basic form.

For example:

We will create, host and monitor a web-based database that shows all wheelchair users what businesses and restaurants have wheelchair access for free.

Or something like:

Giving business travellers a online platform where they can find the cheapest hotel stay every day of the year.

problem statement

Technology Industry Example

There’s been a few high-profile companies that have changed their problem statement to reflect a change in the business’ direction. Take the Snapchat case. Snapchat is a hugely popular mobile app that allows users to send and receive "self-destructing" customizable images. However, the company’s problem statement reflects a different side to the business - a side that's moving away from mobile app development and towards hardware.

“Snap Inc. is a camera company.

We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate.

Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together.”

The problem:

How people live and communicate in the 21st century.

The solution:

Using cameras to express themselves.

Why Your Team Should Have One

The problem statement allows teams to define exactly what the purpose of the business will always be so that they can revisit it when they aren’t reaching their goals or stray too far from their main product/service. It’s a great tool for all companies when they need to refocus.

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Stuart Bolger
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