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Business Problem Statement Explained with Examples
Free Problem Statement Templates
Running a business is an extremely tedious task. Almost always, there’s a problem or two that needs your immediate attention, and addressing these problems head-on to find their solutions is a part of the process. Luckily, there’s a tool that can help you with that: a business problem statement.
You may know how necessary it is to write a business plan for your company. What you may not know of, however, are the tools and techniques that can help you solve your business problems .
A business problem statement can help analyze the problem and come up with new and creative ways to solve it.
Essentially, it enables you to approach the problem in a more systematic, measurable, and objective way.
What is a business problem statement?
How to write a business problem statement, business problem statement framework, business problem statement templates, business problem statement example.
In this article, we will see what is a business problem statement and how you can write one yourself.
What Is a Business Problem Statement?
It defines the problem that a company is facing. Also, it involves an intricate analysis of the problem, details relevant to the situation, and a solution that can solve the problem. This is a simple yet effective way to present a problem and its solution concisely.
In other words, it is a communication tool that helps you visualize and minimize the gap between what’s ideal vs. what’s real. Or to put it in business lingo, the expected performance, and the real performance.
A business problem statement is a compact communication tool that helps you convey what you want to change.
How to Write a Business Problem Statement?
Before writing a business problem statement, it is crucial to conduct a complete analysis of the problem and everything related. You should have the knowledge to describe your problem and also suggest a solution to it.
To make things easy for you, we have explained the four key aspects to help you write your business problem statement. They include:
Define the problem
Defining the problem is the primary aspect of a business problem statement. Summarize your problem in simple and layman terms. It is highly recommended to avoid industrial lingo and buzzwords. Write a 3-5 sentences long summary, avoid writing more than it.
Provide the problem analysis
Adding statistics and results from surveys, industry trends, customer demographics, staffing reports, etc., helps the reader understand the problem distinctly. These references should describe your problem and its effects on various attributes of your business.
Avoid adding too many numbers in your problem statement, and include only the absolute necessary statistics. It’s best to include not more than three significant facts.
Propose a solution
Your business problem statement should conclude with a solution to the problem that was previously described. The solution should describe how the current state can be improved.
Avoid including elaborate actions and steps in a problem statement. These can be further explained when you write a project plan.
Consider the audience
When you start writing your business problem statement, or any formal document, it is important to be aware of the reader. Write your problem statement keeping in mind the reader’s knowledge about the situation, requirements, and expectations.
Although intuitive knowledge does have its place, it is wiser to first consider and mention the facts you have learned based on your research and propose solutions accordingly.
How to Develop a Business Problem Statement
A popular method that is used while writing a problem statement is the 5W2H (What, Why, Where, Who, When, How, How much) method. These are the questions that need to be asked and answered while writing a business problem statement.
Let’s understand them in detail.
- What: What is the problem that needs to be solved? Include the root cause of the problem. Mention other micro problems that are connected with the macro ones.
- Why: Why is it a problem? Describe the reasons why it is a problem. Include supporting facts and statistics to highlight the trouble.
- Where: Where is the problem observed? Mention the location and the specifics of it. Include the products or services in which the problem is seen.
- Who: Who is impacted by this problem? Define and mention the customers, the staff, departments, and businesses affected by the problem.
- When: When was the problem first observed? Talk about the timeline. Explain how the intensity of the problem has changed from the time it was first observed.
- How: How is the problem observed? Mention the indications of the problem. Talk about the observations you made while conducting problem analysis.
- How much: How often is the problem observed? If you have identified a trend during your research, mention it. Comment on the error rate and the frequency and magnitude of the problem.
Business Problem Statement Framework
A problem statement consists of four main components. They are:
- The problem: The problem statement begins with mentioning and explaining the current state.
- Who it affects: Mention the people who are affected by the problem.
- How it impacts: Explain the impacts of the problem.
- The solution: Your problem statement ends with a proposed solution.
Business Problem Statement Templates
Below is a common template used for writing a problem statement. It includes the four key components mentioned in the above framework.
Business Problem Statement Examples
Here are a few problem statement examples to help you understand how to write your business problem statement:
Example 1: A problem statement by a software company
The problem of a manual auditing process affects the finance department and the staff as the process creates a lot of hassle because of the searching and verifying physical documents.
The impact of this is a lengthy auditing process where many mishaps and misplacements of documents happen. A successful solution would be to create an online database with search filters that would make it easy to find and verify documents.
Example 2: A problem statement by a manufacturing company
The problem of an inefficient manual assembly process affects the productivity of the company, and the workers have to manually install some parts, which consumes more time.
This impacts the production goals and incremental loss for this year. An efficient solution would be to install conveyor belts to optimize the manufacturing process.
Solve Problems Faster with a Business Problem Statement
Writing a problem statement can be tricky. However, building one can help you define the problems to your business partners and find solutions faster.
It helps you present a concise yet informative description of the problem and its potential solutions. Use the above template to create a problem state for your business and eliminate the need to scour through complex documents.
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About the Author
Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.
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Effective Problem Statement Examples in Business
Every great company starts by solving an important problem. This is why your business plan needs to have a problem statement. The better you articulate the problem, the more valuable your solution will be.
A common mistake businesses make is that they do not give the problem as much importance as the solution. Instead, most business owners get excited about the solution — but in doing so, they tend to forget to explain why the problem is important.
A well-articulated problem gives your solution more value. It makes your entire plan 10x more effective.
This article takes a look at what a problem statement is. It also includes problem statement examples, how to write an effective problem statement for your business, and more.
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Problem statement definition .
Ultimately, most business owners want their company’s products or services to solve a problem for their core customers.
That means your problem statement is the heart of your concept. It is the very thing that gets people interested in you and your business. Eventually, it becomes the focal point.
Put simply, a problem statement defines a problem and identifies what a solution would look like. But to build a good case for the problem is to not just state the problem. You should also build an engaging story around that problem — one that people can relate to.
Purpose of a Problem Statement
Problem statements are important to businesses, individuals, and other entities. That’s because they are great when trying to develop projects focused on improvement. Problem statements are also important for these reasons:
First, it allows you to identify and explain the problem in a concise but detailed way. This gives the reader a comprehensive view of what's going on. You can identify who the problem impacts, what the impacts are, where the problem occurs, and why and when it needs to be fixed.
The second is to clarify what the expected outcomes are. When you establish what the desired situation looks like, it helps give an overarching idea about the entire project. The proposed solution, scope, and goals of the solution are all made clear through the problem statement.
Third, the problem statement acts as a guide. It helps you navigate your business and can help your team remain focused and on track. You'll find that you'll come back to your problem statement from time to time to ensure the solution has been implemented and that it does indeed solve the initial problem.
A great problem statement will help to ensure that all objectives of your business are being met.
Examples of Problem Statements in Business
There are tons of successful examples of problem statements from various companies. Let's take Netflix for example. They solved the problem of having to go to the video store to rent movies.
Netflix originally eliminated the need to go to the video store by delivering movies in an envelope to your mailbox. This allowed people to keep the movies for as long as they'd like.
At that time, the use case for Netflix was something like this:
"Going to the video store is a pain. People don't like traveling back and forth just to rent a movie and they hate paying late fees even more."
A simple interpretation of Netflix's problem statement would be:
Problem: "Going to the video store requires fighting traffic, wandering the aisles,, and waiting in long lines just to get a single movie."
Solution: "Netflix allows anyone to enjoy thousands of titles streamed directly to their home or delivered to their mailbox."
As you can see in just two sentences, you have given a potential investor an easy problem/solution statement. This example of what Netflix's problem statement would have looked like is simple, yet it gets straight to the point.
A good problem statement will solely focus on the problem. This allows the audience to build a powerful case for the problem and accept the solution you are trying to provide.
Another example problem statement is from Facebook . Harvard had its very own version of Facebook when Mark Zuckerberg was a student. Zuckerberg's frustration was that "he could only search and look at people's information on the university's version of Facebook and not perform any sort of social interactions like liking, commenting, etc."
This was when he came up with the idea to create a new platform. He hoped to create something new that allowed users to search for people according to their interests. Users would also be able to create an online network of friends and study groups.
Facebook’s problem statement would have probably said something like:
“A lack of social interaction among a group of people who share common interests/attributes is a waste of time. People cannot create strong connections without interacting with each other.”
A simple interpretation of Facebook’s problem statement would be:
Problem: Connecting with others and being able to comment or like their posts, etc., can have an adverse effect on making strong connections with like-minded people.
Solution: Facebook allows you to connect, create strong connections and interact with people with similar interests.
Key Elements of a Good Problem Statement
There are certain key elements to a good problem statement. These include:
Your problem statement should outline what the ideal situation would be if there wasn't a problem that needed your attention. This is where you will identify the goals and the scope of the project. This section needs to give a clear understanding of what the ideal scenario will be once the issue is resolved and what your business can do to solve the issue.
Moving on, your problem statement should concisely describe what the current reality is for your business. Here, you will identify the problem, state why it's a problem, and identify who the problem is affecting. Moreover, this section will also describe when and where the problem was identified. All in all, this section is basically a scenario analysis.
At this stage, your problem statement needs to identify the consequences of the problem. It should outline how people affected by the problem are being impacted and quantify how much the problem is impacting them. Some common consequences may include the loss of time, money, resources, competitive advantage, productivity, and efficiency.
This section of your problem statement may include a few possible solutions to the problem. It is important to not identify a specific solution. The purpose of this section is to guide the business team on how to research, investigate and resolve the problem.
How To Write a Problem Statement
When writing a great problem statement, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to follow when writing a problem statement for your business:
Describe the Ideal Situation You Aim to Achieve
To get started, try to provide some context that will make it easier to understand the problem. Begin by explaining how the particular process should work. Before mentioning the problem, try to describe how the process would function if the current problem didn't exist. Be sure to keep the end-user in mind.
Let's say you have an idea of how to increase efficiency in a process to maximize the best use of resources. You can start describing a theoretical situation whereby the system is far more efficient and work towards your proposal from there. Just keep in mind who, what, where, and why so that you can stay on point.
Choose the Biggest Problem to Solve
Oftentimes, you may find that your products or services can solve multiple problems. However, when defining your problem statement, focus on the biggest problem you can solve.
If you are going to be pitching to investors, keep in mind that they won't be able to remember all of the problems. They're most likely to remember your products/services that can solve their biggest problem.
Consider Audience's Needs in your Problem
Be sure to review reports and talk to your employees to fully understand the scope of the problem. Their problem-solving skills can come in handy.
Take into consideration the needs and experiences of your audience when writing problem statements. People will relate to you and your problem statement if they have experienced something similar.
Furthermore, the vision for your product or service should be the same as well. The more your target audience relates to your story, the better they'll understand and connect with it.
Provide Facts about the Problem that your Business is Solving
Most business problem statements are backed by surveys or statistics. Your business's problem statement can include references to internal or external reports, staffing reports, statistics, customer demographics, national trends, etc. Of course, what you include depends on the problem you're solving.
Try to avoid adding excess numbers and irrelevant information. Ensure that you only include key statistics and solid data that highlight the severity of the problem.
Explain the Benefits of your Proposed Solution
At this point in your problem statement, you've described the ideal situation where the problem doesn't exist. You've also pointed out the problem, explained what the consequences are if they're not fixed, and proposed solutions.
It is now time to explain the benefits of your solution. Focus on the efficiency and the financial impact of your solutions. Talk about the financial costs your solution will decrease and how your solution can free up revenue streams. You can also address the intangible benefits of your solution like increased client satisfaction.
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3 Excellent Problem Statement Examples A problem statement aims to identify a problem and find a solution. Continue reading for how to write one and examples to base yours on.
By Entrepreneur Staff • May 31, 2023
Have you been asked at work or school to create a problem statement and include a proposed solution, but you don't know where to start?
Continue reading for everything you need to know about problem statements, how to write one and examples to base your own on.
What is a problem statement?
An effective problem statement aims to identify the gap between the current state (the problem) and the desired state (the goal) of a process or product.
A problem statement helps the writer solve a problem and meet an unmet need by offering a viable solution.
Also known as a point of view (POV) statement, a good problem statement creates a framework that offers a possible solution to the problem.
It includes a clear statement of the problem that the writer can address and allows them to keep their focus on the main issue.
Related: How to Solve a Problem In 3 Steps | Define It, Redefine It, Repeat | Entrepreneur
Problem statement points of view
Problem statements can take numerous forms, but the goal is always to develop an effective solution.
Writing problem statements can be done using a few different points of view.
A few ways that you can phrase your problem statement include:
"I am a busy working professional trying to eat healthy, but I'm having trouble as I work long hours and don't always have time to go grocery shopping and purchase healthy food. This makes me feel upset and bad about myself."
"Hard-working professionals need a convenient, quick way to eat healthy food because they often work long hours and don't have time to go grocery shopping."
Four Ws perspective
The methodology behind this type of problem statement is that it needs to include who, what, where and why.
Commonly used to solve a business problem by helping to improve the user experience and find a solution to pain points (specific problems that customers are facing), using this perspective typically includes the most detail.
"Our busy working professional is struggling to eat healthy food during the week as she is consistently working long hours. Our solution needs to deliver a quick and convenient way for her to purchase healthy food to eat at home and at work."
Each of the above perspectives addresses the same problem, just from a different point of view.
As long as you focus on the problem and figure out a potential solution, it is up to you to choose what perspective you decide to write your problem statement.
Related: Defining Problems: The Most Important Business Skill You've Never Been Taught | Entrepreneur
Three key elements of a problem statement
A typical problem statement consists of three key elements .
- The specific problem is stated clearly and detailed enough to explain why it is crucial.
- The method by which the problem will be solved.
- The purpose, statement of objective and scope of the study.
It is essential to include a statement of objective at the beginning of your problem statement. This allows the reader to know precisely what the statement will be about.
The scope of your problem statement should be a short statement that describes what will be talked about and what won't be talked about in your statement and is often included in the statement's introduction.
Below is a problem statement written by Tan T. Trinh , "Winglets at Takeoffs and Landings," which utilizes these three key elements:
A recent trend in the design of new aircraft is the addition of winglets, which are small fins attached to the ends of the main wing.
After an aircraft has taken off and is cruising, winglets improve its performance by reducing the drag caused by the main wing.
However, during the critical stages of aircraft takeoff and landing, the winglets cause two problems.
First, they cause vibrations in the main wing, commonly called buffeting.
Second, they cause the aircraft to lose some control of yaw, the motion of the nose right and left.
In a study funded by NASA [Ref. 2], the main wing of a DC-10 transport aircraft was outfitted with winglets and it experienced significant buffeting during takeoff and landing.
The method used to solve the problem
In our current project, we examine winglet-induced buffeting in three wing designs.
We record buffeting and yaw under experimental wind-tunnel takeoff and landing conditions for (1) a wing without winglets, (2) another wing with conventional winglets,and (3) a wing with spheroid winglets.
Our objective is to determine the degree to which differences between load lifts on the wings and their winglets during takeoff and landing are causing the performance problems we have described.
Related: Here are 5 Problem-solving Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Have
The purpose, statement of objective and scope
In this study, we develop theoretical models of winglet load lifts and compare these to the lifts of wings and winglets actually recorded during testing conditions.
Related: 27 Quotes to Change How You Think About Problems | Entrepreneur
Questions to answer when writing a problem statement
When writing your problem statement, you are problem-solving for a situation requiring a solution.
To write a great problem statement, in the brainstorming phase, ask yourself the following questions :
- What are the people involved in the case study doing wrong?
- What are the main issues and the root cause of their problem?
- How does the problem affect those involved in the long run?
- Does the problem create a domino effect? What is the potential expected outcome for those involved if no solution is found?
- What or who are negatively contributing to the problem?
- Is the reaction of others to the problem creating a pendulum effect?
Related: To Solve Big Problems, Assume Everything Is Wrong and Ask Dumb Questions | Entrepreneur
Problem statement examples
Continue reading for examples of problem statements that you can use as a template to base your statement on.
The following is a problem statement covering a youth homelessness crisis :
The goal of Youth Intentional Housing Supports is to quickly house youth experiencing housing insecurity while providing the support needed to remain stably housed and build a foundation for success in the future.
According to the City's Dashboard to End Homelessness, in March 2018 there were 1,227 youth experiencing homeless in the City.
Of those, 126 were matched to projects and awaiting enrollment, and 45 youth experiencing homelessness were enrolled in projects and awaiting permanent housing.
An average of 158 new youth seek support from our system each month, and it takes 144 days from identifying a youth to that youth being housed.
In order to reduce these prolonged episodes of homelessness, the City seeks to support a menu of housing interventions for youth that are developmentally appropriate and quickly deployable.
Related: These Inspiring Teen Girls Invented a Solar-Powered Housing Solution for the Homeless | Now They Are Presenting Their Work at MIT | Entrepreneur
Here is a problem statement about the decline in employee well-being :
The problem to be addressed by this study is the decline of employee well-being for followers of novice mid-level managers and the corresponding rise in employee turnover faced by business leaders across the financial services industry (Oh et al., 2014).
Low levels of employee well-being are toxic for morale and result in expensive turnover costs, dysfunctional work environments, anemic corporate cultures and poor customer service (Compdata, 2018; Oh et al., 2014).
According to Ufer (2017), the financial services industry suffers from one of the highest turnover rates among millennial-aged employees in all industries in the developed world, at 18.6% annually.
Starkman (2015) reported that 50% of those surveyed in financial services were not satisfied with a single one of the four key workplace aspects: job, firm, pay or career path.
Low levels of employee well-being interrupt a financial services' company's ability to deliver outstanding customer service in a world increasingly dependent on that commodity (Wladawsky-Berger, 2018).
Mid-level managers play an essential role in support of the success of many of top businesses today (Anicich & Hirsh, 2017).
The current body of literature does not adequately address the well-being issue in the financial services industry from the follower's perspective (Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe, & Carsten, 2014).
Strategic direction flows top-down from senior executives and passes through mid-level leadership to individual contributors at more junior grades.
The mid-level managers' teams are tasked with the achievement of core tasks and the managers themselves are expected to maintain the workforce's morale, motivation and welfare (Anicich & Hirsh, 2017).
Unless industry leaders better understand the phenomenon of employee well-being from the follower perspective and its role in positioning employees to provide a premium client experience, they may be handicapped from preserving their most significant principal market differentiator: customer service (Wladawsky-Berger, 2018).
Related: Is Your Company Embracing These Employee Well-Being Trends?
The following is a problem statement dealing with unpredictable online student attendance:
Distance education via online platforms is a rapidly growing method of education delivery due to its convenience, wide reach, relatively low cost and ability to support the achievement of learning objectives.
Whether the platform is Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, Angel, or some other learning management system, online education utilizes a variety of common learning tools including discussion boards, drop boxes, automated testing and wikis.
Chief among these tools are live online sessions. Live online sessions may be delivered in virtual classrooms from Adobe Connect, Elluminate, GoToMeeting, Wimba, or other software programs.
Regardless of the software used, student attendance at live online sessions, especially optional ones, can be unpredictable at best.
It is a common complaint among the online faculty at a university in the south that many, oftentimes most, of their students do not attend the live online sessions.
This study will address the problem of low student attendance at non-mandatory virtual classroom meetings in online college courses.
Offir, Lev and Bezalel (2008) found the interaction level in a synchronous class, also known as web conferencing, to be a significant factor in the effectiveness of the class.
Other researchers describe "the power of a synchronous online system to empower students in conversation and expression (McBrien, Jones, & Cheng, 2009). However, if students do not attend, then they cannot interact nor express themselves. According to Skylar (2009),"research concerning the use of newer multimedia technologies, such as interactive synchronous web conferencing tools, is in its infancy and needs further and continued study"(p. 82).
McBrien, Jones and Cheng (2009) stated that "more studies are needed to explore students' perceptions of the synchronous learning experience."
A variety of studies have explored the differences in functionalities of the various platforms (Kenning, 2010; Lavolette, Venable, Gose, & Huang, 2010), but they did not get to the heart of why students do or do not attend. This study will benefit college and university administrators who can create or revise policies based upon the results. Administrators may even decide to change virtual classroom providers.
Faculty may benefit if results indicate a change is needed in their own practices.
Finally, the study will benefit online students whose learning experiences will be improved by the findings.
Related: This Is What Hybrid Classrooms Have Taught Us About the Future of Work | Entrepreneur
Problem statements create answers
Whether you are writing a problem statement for work or school, on your own or with team members, it is essential to clearly define the problem and all its parameters to obtain a definitive solution.
By utilizing your decision-making skills and following the steps and examples above, you can find an answer to any research project that comes your way.
Check out Entrepreneur's other articles for more information about problem statements and other professional topics.
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Effective problem statements have these 5 components
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We’ve all encountered problems on the job. After all, that’s what a lot of work is about. Solving meaningful problems to help improve something.
Developing a problem statement that provides a brief description of an issue you want to solve is an important early step in problem-solving .
It sounds deceptively simple. But creating an effective problem statement isn’t that easy, even for a genius like Albert Einstein. Given one hour to work on a problem, he’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes finding solutions. (Or so the story goes.)
Einstein was probably exaggerating to make a point. But considering his success in solving complex problems, we think he was on to something.
As humans, we’re wired to jump past the problem and go directly to the solution stage. In emergencies, this behavior can be lifesaving, as in leaping out of the way of a speeding car. But when dealing with longer-range issues in the workplace, this can lead to bad decisions or half-baked solutions.
That’s where problem statements come in handy. They help to meaningfully outline objectives to reach effective solutions. Knowing how to develop a great problem statement is also a valuable tool for honing your management skills .
But what exactly is a problem statement, when should you use one, and how do you go about writing one? In this article, we'll answer those questions and give you some tips for writing effective problem statements. Then you'll be ready to take on more challenges large and small.
What is a problem statement?
First, let’s start by defining a problem statement.
A problem statement is a short, clear explanation of an issue or challenge that sums up what you want to change. It helps you, team members, and other stakeholders to focus on the problem, why it’s important, and who it impacts.
A good problem statement should create awareness and stimulate creative thinking . It should not identify a solution or create a bias toward a specific strategy.
Taking time to work on a problem statement is a great way to short-circuit the tendency to rush to solutions. It helps to make sure you’re focusing on the right problem and have a well-informed understanding of the root causes. The process can also help you take a more proactive than reactive approach to problem-solving . This can help position you and your team to avoid getting stuck in constant fire-fighting mode. That way, you can take advantage of more growth opportunities.
When to use a problem statement
The best time to create a problem statement is before you start thinking of solutions. If you catch yourself or your team rushing to the solution stage when you’re first discussing a problem, hit the brakes. Go back and work on the statement of the problem to make sure everyone understands and agrees on what the real problem is.
Here are some common situations where writing problem statements might come in handy:
- Writing an executive summary for a project proposal or research project
- Collaborating on a cross-functional project with several team members
- Defining the customer issue that a proposed product or service aims to solve
- Using design thinking to improve user experience
- Tackling a problem that previous actions failed to solve
How to identify a problem statement
Like the unseen body of an iceberg, the root cause of a specific problem isn’t always obvious. So when developing a problem statement, how do you go about identifying the true, underlying problem?
These two steps will help you uncover the root cause of a problem :
- Collect information from the research and previous experience with the problem
- Talk to multiple stakeholders who are impacted by the problem
People often perceive problems differently. Interviewing stakeholders will help you understand the problem from diverse points of view. It can also help you develop some case studies to illustrate the problem.
Combining these insights with research data will help you identify root causes more accurately. In turn, this methodology will help you craft a problem statement that will lead to more viable solutions.
What are problem statements used for?
You can use problem statements for a variety of purposes. For an organization, it might be solving customer and employee issues. For the government, it could be improving public health. For individuals, it can mean enhancing their own personal well-being . Generally, problem statements can be used to:
- Identify opportunities for improvement
- Focus on the right problems or issues to launch more successful initiatives – a common challenge in leadership
- Help you communicate a problem to others who need to be involved in finding a solution
- Serve as the basis for developing an action plan or goals that need to be accomplished to help solve the problem
- Stimulate thinking outside the box and other types of creative brainstorming techniques
3 examples of problem statements
When you want to be sure you understand a concept or tool, it helps to see an example. There can also be some differences in opinion about what a problem statement should look like. For instance, some frameworks include a proposed solution as part of the problem statement. But if the goal is to stimulate fresh ideas, it’s better not to suggest a solution within the problem statement.
In our experience, an effective problem statement is brief, preferably one sentence. It’s also specific and descriptive without being prescriptive.
Here are three problem statement examples. While these examples represent three types of problems or goals, keep in mind that there can be many other types of problem statements.
Example Problem Statement 1: The Status Quo Problem Statement
The average customer service on-hold time for Example company exceeds five minutes during both its busy and slow seasons.
This can be used to describe a current pain point within an organization that may need to be addressed. Note that the statement specifies that the issue occurs during the company’s slow time as well as the busy season. This is helpful in performing the root cause analysis and determining how this problem can be solved.
The average customer service on-hold time for Example company exceeds five minutes during both its busy and slow seasons. The company is currently understaffed and customer service representatives are overwhelmed.
Example company is facing a significant challenge in managing their customer service on-hold times. In the past, the company had been known for its efficient and timely customer service, but due to a combination of factors, including understaffing and increased customer demand, the on-hold times have exceeded five minutes consistently. This has resulted in frustration and dissatisfaction among customers, negatively impacting the company's reputation and customer loyalty.
Reducing the on-hold times for customer service callers is crucial for Example company. Prolonged waiting times have a detrimental effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to potential customer churn and loss of revenue. Additionally, the company's declining reputation in terms of customer service can have a lasting impact on its competitive position in the market. Addressing this problem is of utmost importance to improve customer experience and maintain a positive brand image.
The primary objective of this project is to reduce the on-hold times for customer service callers at Example company. The specific objectives include:
- Analyzing the current customer service workflow and identifying bottlenecks contributing to increased on-hold times.
- Assessing the staffing levels and resource allocation to determine the extent of understaffing and its impact on customer service.
- Developing strategies and implementing measures to optimize the customer service workflow and reduce on-hold times.
- Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the implemented measures through key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average on-hold time, customer satisfaction ratings, and customer feedback.
- Establishing a sustainable approach to maintain reduced on-hold times, taking into account both busy and slow seasons, through proper resource planning, training, and process improvements.
Example Problem Statement 2: The Destination Problem Statement
Leaders at Example company want to increase net revenue for its premium product line of widgets by 5% for the next fiscal year.
This approach can be used to describe where an organization wants to be in the future. This type of problem statement is useful for launching initiatives to help an organization achieve its desired state.
Like creating SMART goals , you want to be as specific as possible. Note that the statement specifies “net revenue” instead of “gross revenue." This will help keep options open for potential actions. It also makes it clear that merely increasing sales is not an acceptable solution if higher marketing costs offset the net gains.
Leaders at Example company aim to increase net revenue for its premium product line of widgets by 5% for the next fiscal year. However, the company currently lacks the necessary teams to tackle this objective effectively. To achieve this growth target, the company needs to expand its marketing and PR teams, as well as its product development teams, to prepare for scaling.
Example company faces the challenge of generating a 5% increase in net revenue for its premium product line of widgets in the upcoming fiscal year. Currently, the company lacks the required workforce to drive this growth. Without adequate staff in the marketing, PR, and product development departments, the company's ability to effectively promote, position, and innovate its premium product line will be hindered. To achieve this kind of growth, it is essential that Example company expands teams, enhances capabilities, and strategically taps into the existing pool of loyal customers.
Increasing net revenue for the premium product line is crucial for Example company's overall business success. Failure to achieve the targeted growth rate can lead to missed revenue opportunities and stagnation in the market. By expanding the marketing and PR teams, Example company can strengthen its brand presence, effectively communicate the value proposition of its premium product line, and attract new customers.
Additionally, expanding the product development teams will enable the company to introduce new features and innovations, further enticing existing and potential customers. Therefore, addressing the workforce shortage and investing in the necessary resources are vital for achieving the revenue growth objective.
The primary objective of this project is to increase net revenue for Example company's premium product line of widgets by 5% in the next fiscal year. The specific objectives include:
- Assessing the current workforce and identifying the gaps in the marketing, PR, and product development teams.
- Expanding the marketing and PR teams by hiring skilled professionals who can effectively promote the premium product line and engage with the target audience.
- Strengthening the product development teams by recruiting qualified individuals who can drive innovation, enhance product features, and meet customer demands.
- Developing a comprehensive marketing and PR strategy to effectively communicate the value proposition of the premium product line and attract new customers.
- Leveraging the existing base of loyal customers to increase repeat purchases, referrals, and brand advocacy.
- Allocating sufficient resources, both time and manpower, to support the expansion and scaling efforts required to achieve the ambitious revenue growth target.
- Monitoring and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as net revenue, customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer satisfaction to measure the success of the growth initiatives.
- Establishing a sustainable plan to maintain the increased revenue growth beyond the next fiscal year by implementing strategies for continuous improvement and adaptation to market dynamics.
Example Problem Statement 3 The Stakeholder Problem Statement
In the last three quarterly employee engagement surveys , less than 30% of employees at Eample company stated that they feel valued by the company. This represents a 20% decline compared to the same period in the year prior.
This strategy can be used to describe how a specific stakeholder group views the organization. It can be useful for exploring issues and potential solutions that impact specific groups of people.
Note the statement makes it clear that the issue has been present in multiple surveys and it's significantly worse than the previous year. When researching root causes, the HR team will want to zero in on factors that changed since the previous year.
In the last three quarterly employee engagement surveys, less than 30% of employees at the Example company stated that they feel valued by the company. This indicates a significant decline of 20% compared to the same period in the previous year.
The company aspires to reduce this percentage further to under 10%. However, achieving this goal would require filling specialized roles and implementing substantial cultural changes within the organization.
Example company is facing a pressing issue regarding employee engagement and perceived value within the company. Over the past year, there has been a notable decline in the percentage of employees who feel valued. This decline is evident in the results of the quarterly employee engagement surveys, which consistently show less than 30% of employees reporting a sense of value by the company.
This decline of 20% compared to the previous year's data signifies a concerning trend. To address this problem effectively, Example company needs to undertake significant measures that go beyond superficial changes and necessitate filling specialized roles and transforming the company culture.
Employee engagement and a sense of value are crucial for organizational success. When employees feel valued, they tend to be more productive, committed, and motivated. Conversely, a lack of perceived value can lead to decreased morale, increased turnover rates, and diminished overall performance.
By addressing the decline in employees feeling valued, Example company can improve employee satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, overall productivity. Achieving the desired reduction to under 10% is essential to restore a positive work environment and build a culture of appreciation and respect.
The primary objective of this project is to increase the percentage of employees who feel valued by Example company, aiming to reduce it to under 10%. The specific objectives include:
- Conducting a comprehensive analysis of the factors contributing to the decline in employees feeling valued, including organizational policies, communication practices, leadership styles, and cultural norms.
- Identifying and filling specialized roles, such as employee engagement specialists or culture change agents, who can provide expertise and guidance in fostering a culture of value and appreciation.
- Developing a holistic employee engagement strategy that encompasses various initiatives, including training programs, recognition programs, feedback mechanisms, and communication channels, to enhance employee value perception.
- Implementing cultural changes within the organization that align with the values of appreciation, respect, and recognition, while fostering an environment where employees feel valued.
- Communicating the importance of employee value and engagement throughout all levels of the organization, including leadership teams, managers, and supervisors, to ensure consistent messaging and support.
- Monitoring progress through regular employee surveys, feedback sessions, and key performance indicators (KPIs) related to employee satisfaction, turnover rates, and overall engagement levels.
- Providing ongoing support, resources, and training to managers and supervisors to enable them to effectively recognize and appreciate their teams and foster a culture of value within their respective departments.
- Establishing a sustainable framework for maintaining high employee value perception in the long term, including regular evaluation and adaptation of employee engagement initiatives to address evolving needs and expectations.
What are the 5 components of a problem statement?
In developing a problem statement, it helps to think like a journalist by focusing on the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why or how. Keep in mind that every statement may not explicitly include each component. But asking these questions is a good way to make sure you’re covering the key elements:
- Who: Who are the stakeholders that are affected by the problem?
- What: What is the current state, desired state, or unmet need?
- When: When is the issue occurring or what is the timeframe involved?
- Where: Where is the problem occurring? For example, is it in a specific department, location, or region?
- Why: Why is this important or worth solving? How is the problem impacting your customers, employees, other stakeholders, or the organization? What is the magnitude of the problem? How large is the gap between the current and desired state?
How do you write a problem statement?
There are many frameworks designed to help people write a problem statement. One example is outlined in the book, The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions, ” by Daniel Markovitz. A faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute, the author uses many case studies from his work as a business consultant.
To simplify the process, we’ve broken it down into three steps:
1. Gather data and observe
Use data from research and reports, as well as facts from direct observation to answer the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why.
Whenever possible, get out in the field and talk directly with stakeholders impacted by the problem. Get a firsthand look at the work environment and equipment. This may mean spending time on the production floor asking employees questions about their work and challenges. Or taking customer service calls to learn more about customer pain points and problems your employees may be grappling with.
2. Frame the problem properly
A well-framed problem will help you avoid cognitive bias and open avenues for discussion. It will also encourage the exploration of more options.
A good way to test a problem statement for bias is to ask questions like these:
3. Keep asking why (and check in on the progress)
When it comes to problem-solving, stay curious. Lean on your growth mindset to keep asking why — and check in on the progress.
Asking why until you’re satisfied that you’ve uncovered the root cause of the problem will help you avoid ineffective band-aid solutions.
Refining your problem statements
When solving any sort of problem, there’s likely a slew of questions that might arise for you. In order to holistically understand the root cause of the problem at hand, your workforce needs to stay curious.
An effective problem statement creates the space you and your team need to explore, gain insight, and get buy-in before taking action.
If you have embarked on a proposed solution, it’s also important to understand that solutions are malleable. There may be no single best solution. Solutions can change and adapt as external factors change, too. It’s more important than ever that organizations stay agile . This means that interactive check-ins are critical to solving tough problems. By keeping a good pulse on your course of action, you’ll be better equipped to pivot when the time comes to change.
BetterUp can help. With access to virtual coaching , your people can get personalized support to help solve tough problems of the future.
Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.
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Problem Statement Examples For Your Company
Last updated on 31 October 2023.
This article will give you an insight into what are problem statements for businesses, problem statement examples, how to write a problem statement and many more questions that entrepreneurs have regarding problem statements.
What is a Problem Statement?
Before discussing problem statement examples , just a quick brief introduction to what is a problem statement in a business? A problem statement defines the problem faced by a business and also identifies what the solution would look like. Businesses are usually created on the basis of solving problems that exist amongst consumers .
A problem statement can be seen as the starting point for coming up with a product vision. In defining the problem statement for your startup or business, be sure to include these elements:
1. The Problem: What is the issue plaguing the organization? 2. Who It Affects: Indicate the entities that are affected by the issue. This can be a group of stakeholders or an organization. 3. Impact: What is the impact or consequence of the issue? 4. Solution: Include your recommendation for solving the issue.
When Should You Write A Problem Statement?
A problem statement should be written in businesses and other organisations, writing a problem statement is an important step in improvement projects. A clearly defined and well-understood issue is crucial to finding and implementing effective business solutions. In this case, the problem statement is usually a stand-alone document.
Writing a problem statement should help in careful decision-making for the existence of your business, and the reasons for its operation. The problem statement will serve as the basis for the introductory section, directing the reader’s attention to the issues that your proposed business plan will address. A problem statement is a communication tool. Problem statements are important to businesses, individuals and other entities to develop projects focused on improvement. Whether the issue is pertaining to badly-needed road work or the logistics for an island construction project; a clear, concise problem statement is typically used by a project’s team to help define and understand the issue and develop possible solutions.
These statements also provide important information that is crucial in decision-making in relation to these projects or processes. A problem statement can be identified by noticing the following measure in all problem statement examples:
- It should neither be a statement of the Vision and Mission of the company nor any philosophy.
- A problem statement should be brief and clear.
- A problem statement should be specific and measurable.
- The context must always be made clear.
Problem Statement Examples
There are several problem statement examples. Let’s use the example of Netflix, who initially solved the issue people had while having to travel to the video store to rent a movie.
Netflix sought to avoid video stores altogether and instead deliver movies in an envelope to your mailbox, allowing you to keep the movie as long as you’d like. Netflix’s problem statement would probably look something like this:
“Going to the video store is a pain. People don’t like travelling back and forth just to rent a movie and they hate paying late fees even more.”
A simple interpretation of problem statement examples (taking Netflix in the example) will be portrayed as the following as well:
Problem: “Going to the video store requires fighting traffic, wandering the aisles, and waiting in long lines just to get a single movie.”
Solution: “ Netflix allows anyone to enjoy thousands of titles streamed directly to their home or delivered to their mailbox.”
In just two sentences you have given a potential investor an easy-to-digest problem/solution statement. Problem statement examples like that of Netflix are simple yet straight to the point.
Good problem statement examples focus entirely on the issue so that the audience can build a powerful case for that issue and accept the solution that the business is trying to provide.
Problem statement examples also include Facebook for instance. Harvard had a Facebook of their own when Mark Zuckerberg was studying there. His frustration was that “he could only search and look at people’s information on the university’s Facebook and not perform any sort of social interactions (liking, commenting etc.)” . His objective was to create a platform where members can search for people according to their interests and can create an online network of friends/study groups.
Elements of a Good Problem Statement
There are certain components and elements of a good problem statement. All great problem statement examples are comprised of the following components. There are four key elements you should include when writing a problem statement:
- Ideal situation: The first thing your problem statement should describe is what the ideal situation would be if there wasn’t a issue you needed to address. This section identifies the goals and scope of the project are. This section should create a clear understanding of what the ideal environment will be once the issue has been resolved and what your business has done in order to be able to solve the issue that exists.
- Reality: The next section of your problem statement should describe what the current reality is for your company or organization. This section will identify what the issue is, state why it is an issue and identify who the issue is impacting. It will also describe when and where the issue was identified. This section is basically doing a scenario analysis.
- Consequences: This section of your problem statement should identify what the consequences of the issue are. This section describes the effects of the issue by describing how the people affected by the issue are being impacted and quantifying how much the problem is impacting them. Common consequences can include the loss of time, money, resources, competitive advantage, productivity and efficiency.
- Proposal: The proposal section of a problem statement may contain several possible solutions to the issue, but it is important to remember that it does not need to identify a specific solution. The purpose of the proposal section should be to guide the business team on how they can research, investigate and resolve the problem.
How To Write A Problem Statement
Apart from these tips, check out our article for detail on how to write a problem statement for your business with more problem statement examples.
- Describe the ideal situation you aim to achieve. To begin, you’ll want to provide some context that will make it easier to understand the issue at hand. Start by explaining how this particular process should work. Concisely describe how the process would function if the current problem didn’t exist before mentioning the problem, keeping the end-user in mind. For example, most problem statement examples say that you have an idea of how to increase efficiency in a process to maximize the best use of resources. You might begin by describing a theoretical situation in which the system is more efficient and working toward your proposal from there, always keeping in mind who, what, when, where and why to keep yourself on track.
- Pick the biggest problem to solve. There’s a good chance that your product/service solves multiple issues. While defining your problem statement, however, it’s time to lead with just one of them – the biggest problem you solve. While pitching your problem statement to investors, do note that they will not have time to remember all of the problem statement examples that are put in front of them, but are likely to remember the one that is able to solve their problem.
- Consider the audience's needs in your problem. Like all problem statement examples, review reports and talk to staff members to ensure that you truly understand the scope of the problem. Consider the needs and experiences of your audience when you write the statement. As a business, individuals will be drawn to you and your problem statement examples when they are able to relate to it or have experienced something similar. The vision for your product/service should be no different. The more your audience can relate to your story, the better they will understand it and want to connect to it.
- Provide facts about the problem that your business is solving. Most problem statement examples out there are supported by surveys or statistics. Depending on the problem, your problem statement might include references to internal or external reports, staffing reports, statistics, customer demographics, national trends and information on company resources if they contribute to the problem. Avoid adding any excess numbers, but make sure to include only key statistics that illustrate the severity of the problem.
- Explain the benefits of your proposed solution. You’ve described an ideal scenario in which the problem doesn’t exist through problem statement examples. You’ve pointed out the problem, explained the ramifications of choosing not to fix it (using dollars and solid data) and proposed some realistic approaches to finding a solution.
- Now is a very good time to demonstrate why this solution will work, again focusing on efficiency and the financial impact of your solution. Address what expenses the solution will decrease, how this solution will free up revenue streams and what intangible benefits, such as increased customer satisfaction, your solution will bring.
Purpose Of A Problem Statement
One is to identify and explain the problem in a concise but detailed way to give the reader a comprehensive view of what’s going on. This includes identifying who the problem impacts, what the impacts are, where the problem occurs and why and when it needs to be fixed.
Another purpose of the problem statement is to clarify what the expected outcomes are. Establishing what the desired situation would look like helps provide an overarching idea about the project. The proposed solution and scope and goals of the solution are made clear through this statement.
The problem statement provides a guide for navigating the business once it begins. It is continually referenced throughout the duration of the business to help the team remain focused and on track. Near the full establishment of the business, this statement is again referred to in order to verify that the solution has been implemented as stated and that it does indeed solve the initial problem.
This can help in making sure that proper steps are being taken to prevent the same problem from happening again in the future and to provide room for continuous improvement within the business through innovation. It serves as a guide and a checklist to ensure that all objectives of the business are being met.
On A Final Note
To conclude this article, all the good problem statement examples have a list of do’s and don’t’s that businesses consider.
A problem statement describes the problem faced by an organisation and also identifies what the solution would look like. It can also establish a foundation for building compelling business cases and proving the necessity for specific projects. Before your business advertises a solution, make sure the customers are aware of the problem that you are solving, which is conveyed through your problem statement.
What is A Problem Statement
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2 comments on “Problem Statement Examples For Your Company”
please send me a problem statement
It a a very educative forum I want to learn more from you
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What are examples of problem statements in business?
• 6 min read
Table of Contents
What’s the problem statement for your business.
From “Why is quality jewelry so expensive?” to eliminating any “I ate delicious cookies guilt!”, here are the 11 answers to the question, “What’s the problem statement for your business?”
Why is Quality Jewelry So Expensive?
A lack of specialization in skincare, wasting time, effort, and money to get a document photo.
- How can We Improve Customer Loyalty?
- Access to Reliable Healthcare Information
Too Many Choices for Consumers
How do i get more views on my youtube video, how do i create a digital marketing strategy, how do i find my ideal customer online, service repair problems are a big inconvenience.
- Eliminate Any “i Ate Delicious Cookies Guilt!”
Our problem statement arrived because we noticed so many high-quality jewelry brands were unnecessarily marked up, and everything else was cheap quality. We decided to fill the gap, offering great jewelry at a fair price. At Craftd, we believe that everyone deserves to stunt and stunt with something that’s of high quality.
Dan Potter, Co-Founder, CRAFTD
Having witnessed a lack of specialization in skincare methods when I worked in aesthetic medicine for nearly a decade, I felt motivated to build a business that changed that with various products and strategies. I had seen unresolved skincare issues, which made me want to see things through the eyes of the patient. We started with one skincare product, and now we have around 20, along with numerous skincare treatments.
Maegan Griffin , Founder, CEO, Nurse Practitioner , Skin Pharm
We sometimes need a passport, a visa, a driver’s license, a school diploma, or an ID. All of these require a photograph. This means there are a few times in our life when we need to dedicate our time, energy, and money to get a good photo that looks professional. But does this really mean that we need to spend hours looking for a photography studio that won’t charge an arm and a leg for a photo, as well as all of the time spent getting ready and traveling there? Absolutely not!PhotoAiD provides a web and mobile app that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI). The user only needs to take a picture with his mobile phone, according to our guidelines. The AI can verify a photo immediately after it has been uploaded and mark it as “correct” or “incorrect”. If the technology approves the picture, we give a 100% guarantee that the image will be accepted by authorities.
Natalia Brzezinska , Marketing & Outreach Manager, US Visa Photo
How Can We Improve Customer Loyalty?
Customer loyalty is essential for any business. It’s important to keep your customers coming back, and it’s even more important to get new customers. The problem statement for our business is “How can we improve customer loyalty?” We need to find ways to make our customers happy and keep them coming back. We also need to find ways to attract new customers. We’ll never have a loyal customer base if we don’t have good products and services. We need to make sure that our products are the best they can be and that our services are reliable and helpful. If we can do these things, we’ll be well on our way to improving customer loyalty.
Jim Campbell , CEO, Campbell Online Media
People Need Access to Reliable Healthcare Information
The problem statement for our business is to ensure that people have access to reliable, up-to-date healthcare information. We understand that the health of individuals and communities depends on having accurate and comprehensive knowledge about health conditions, treatments, and preventive measures. That’s why we strive to provide our users with trustworthy health resources backed by research and medical experts. Our goal is to empower people with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their health and to provide a viable service for those who are unable or unwilling to visit a doctor in person. We believe that everyone should have access to reliable healthcare information, regardless of their financial or geographic situation. With our platform, we hope to revolutionize healthcare and make it easier and more accessible for everyone.
Erik Pham , CEO, Health Canal
The problem statement for my review business is that there are too many choices for consumers when it comes to consumer products, and they need help making decisions. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know which product is the best fit for your needs. My business analyses products and provides expert reviews and recommendations to help people make informed decisions about consumer products.
Sandeep Bhandari , Cofounder, Askanydifference
Tubesplit offers split A/B testing for Youtube thumbnails so that you can see which one performs best and double down on that one instead of wasting your efforts on a thumbnail that underperforms. This fills a real void in the industry for this solution and helps YouTubers get more views on their videos and content that they work so hard to produce.
Scott Krager , Founder, TubeSplit.com
My company, Webserv, helps up-and-coming businesses design digital marketing strategies. At Webserv, we act as middlemen who help out a business in need. We also nurture all our B2B relationships and our priority is to set goals for our clients and complete them in the target time.
Tackling issues around data privacy is a priority, because we are often privy to a lot of information that should not be publicized. We are trying to grow in that arena, where we also provide our clients with a safe space to share their information with us. It is crucial for us to know everything about clients because our digital marketing experts can only design the best campaigns when they know it all.
Preston Powell , Chief Executive Officer, Webserv
As an SEO Agency Director, my primary problem statement is to help clients increase their online visibility and reach more potential customers. To do this, I need to ensure that our clients have a comprehensive digital marketing strategy in place that includes optimizing their website for search engines and other online channels, content creation, social media promotion and managing their online reputation. My challenge is to provide effective solutions for each of these areas while also staying within the budget parameters set by the client I’m responsible for developing a comprehensive plan that considers all aspects of SEO including keyword research and selection, technical optimization, content optimization (including copywriting), backlinks building, and monitoring of campaigns’ effectiveness. Additionally, I must ensure that my team uses best practices with regard to ethical SEO such as white hat link-building tactics and avoiding search engine manipulation techniques.
Jamie Irwin , Director, Straight Up Search
Service repair problems are a big inconvenience. But our company has your service repair to-do list covered. We are the marketplace for all your service needs for your home, workplace, business establishment, or automobile. People can order from our huge pool of local handymen, electricians, mechanics, and plumbing services in seconds. We provide a platform that offers customers and service repair professionals tools to communicate and do business in a reliable, secure, and convenient way.
Dov Breuer , COO, Fixlers
Eliminate Any “I Ate Delicious Cookies Guilt!”
Our delicious soft-baked cookies are made with wholesome dates from California, whole grain gluten-free rolled oats, organic chia seeds and organic flax seeds.
Our first product on the market is our moist, chewy Oatmeal Cranberry cookie. It’s subtly sweet with just a tinge of tart. We don’t use high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars or butter. These tasty treats also contain zero cholesterol, zero soy, zero trans fats, zero artificial colors, and zero artificial flavors! All of the yummy stuff, none of the guilt!
Kenneth Lin , CEO, BOOP Bakery
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50 Business Problem Statement Examples [+Tips To Write]
Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned one, you need to have insights into what a problem statement for a business is, its examples, how to write it, and any other information about it.
When workplace staff members and departmental teams express initiative in solving problems, they demonstrate competence in handling complex and unanticipated challenges at work. Businesses rely on individuals and teams that can effectively analyze challenges and propose working solutions.
In this article, we offer tips on how to generate problem statements, with 50 comprehensive business examples you can use for reference.
What’s The Meaning Of A Problem Statement?
A problem statement summarizes a challenge that needs timely intervention to help improve a situation. It summarizes the problem in business, why it is a problem and how to address it. Businesses thrive when they can solve potential and existing customers’ issues.
Pointers On How To Write A Problem Statement
A problem statement must be accurate and precise. There are vital components to consider when crafting a problem statement that can positively impact a project’s outcome. These include:
1. A Description Of How Things Should Work
First, provide some context that will make it easier to understand the problem by explaining how this process is supposed to function and work. Mention the problem while keeping the end-user in mind.
2. An Overview Of What The Problem Is And Explaining Its Impact
A practical problem statement should address a problem stating what it is, why it is a problem, and the benefits of solving it. It reveals who the problem affects and why it needs fixing. You could indicate any attempts you have undertaken to fix the problem and why those attempts did not work. Explain in detail your understanding of the problem at hand. Usually, fixing a problem in a business setup will help improve efficiency in the workflow processes, save time, minimize the wastage of resources, and impact the cost.
3. An Explanation Of The Cost Implications
When you explain the problem to critical stakeholders, mention the cost implications of not addressing the issue. Entrepreneurs understand the money language better, so framing the problem and projected solution regarding financial consequences is easier. Try to be specific by pinpointing exact figures of how much the business will lose if the issue remains unresolved and how much the business will save by implementing a workable solution. The problem of wasting resources or preventing the company from maximizing profits should reflect in the problem statement.
4. Evidence To Support Your Theory
After stating the financial implications, you need to support your claims with evidence if the stakeholders are to take you seriously. You must conduct comprehensive research, cite your sources, and give practical examples. You must have relevant data to present if the need arises.
5. Suggestions For The Solutions
A problem statement should propose a detailed solution to the problem. At this juncture, you need to have a firm grasp of where the challenges are arising from and offer practical approaches to mitigate them. You must outline your objectives by suggesting an ingenious strategy for addressing challenges.
6. Benefits Of Your Suggested Solutions
After pinpointing the problem:
- Explain the ramifications of not fixing these setbacks and propose appropriate solutions.
- Demonstrate this by focusing on efficiency and the financial impact the solution will have helps convince stakeholders of the viability of the problem statement.
- Comprehensively outline how the solution will impact finances by increasing revenue streams, reducing expenses, improving productivity, saving time, and increasing profit margins.
7. A Summary Of The Problem And The Expected Solution
In conclusion, you must summarize the problem, explain why it needs fixing, and provide an overview of why your solution is the best.
50 Business Problem Statement Examples
1. social media channel.
While Mark Zuckerberg was studying, Harvard had its version of Facebook. Though it was possible to search other students’ profiles on the university wall, it was not possible to interact and perform any social interaction by liking, commenting, or networking.
Problem: The logistics of trying to connect, network, and interact with like-minded friends without physically having to travel.
“Human beings are social beings. They would love to interact and network with people in faraway places without physically traveling. People love to socialize but hate having to spend to do it.”
Solution: Facebook allows its audience to search and network with like-minded individuals.
Problem: An inefficient manual assembly process that consumes plenty of time affects productivity as employees have to spend hours manually installing machine parts. The long delays negatively impact production goals as you could spend that time developing products is spent fixing faulty machines.
Solution: Automating assembly processes and installing conveyor belts to optimize manufacturing workflows.
Problem Statement: Rigorous labor-intensive processing due to manual paperwork management.
3. Streaming Entertainment Service Company
Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services came to solve the problem of people having to go to video stores to rent movies. They did this by trying to eliminate video stores and delivering movies to customers allowing them to keep those movies for as long as they needed. For this, their problem statement would be similar to this one:
“Clients detest going to a video store. They don’t like traveling back and forth and they hate paying late fees even more.” An interpretation of the problem statement is:
Problem: Going to the store entails fighting through traffic and waiting in queues for your turn to get the movies you want.
Solution: The streaming service allows customers to enjoy numerous movies streamed directly to their mailbox. In this short statement, you have given an investor a simplified view of the problem and its solution. Grand problem statements focus on issues so the audience can identify with that problem and appreciate the solution the business is trying to come up with.
4. Software Company
Problem: Manual auditing delays processes in the finance department due to the cumbersome process of verifying and counterchecking financial statements, searching for documents for reference, and manually collaborating with different teams is negatively affecting productivity. The lengthy auditing process leads to many errors where documents get misplaced or lost, and it takes a lot of time to locate and retrieve them.
Solution: An online database with search filters that simplifies the process of searching for documents.
5. Busy Office
Process: Forms for different functions like annual, sick or emergency leave need to be filled by employees for review and management approval. Human resource teams must scrutinize the forms, verify, scan, and upload them to the system. After that, the papers move to the finance department for manual re-entry, and payroll preparation begins.
Problem: Overdependence on the manual system leads to irregularities, delays, omissions, and mistakes in service delivery to employees and vendors. This promotes a poor organizational response to arising issues and wastes precious time trying to identify and correct errors.
Solution: Automating repetitive processes to help teams concentrate on the core business.
Problem: Manual transportation of machine parts from one assembly line to the next, leading to inefficiencies making it impossible to meet the yearly production goals despite hiring additional staff.
Solution: To minimize manual transportation of machine parts and increase reliance on mechanical robot arms and conveyor belts that appear between assembly lines. Such a move will prevent employees from walking back and forth across the assembly lines.
Problem Statement: Employee Efficiency to Improve Productivity
7. Healthcare Center
A medical facility operates 24/7 as patients need care round the clock.
Problem: There’s an insufficiency of medical personnel, especially on the night shift, which presents challenges during emergencies. Unfortunately, patients must wait hours for medical assistance, leading to inefficiencies.
Solution: The hospital must always have a medic on call to handle each department to prevent patients from being stranded during emergencies. Hiring part-time staff for the night shift will help alleviate the problem.
Problem Statement: Customer dissatisfaction with skin care products for Caucasian skin
Problem: Customers complain about the harshness of the sunblock cream.
Impact: Mistrust and suspicion about the quality of the products.
Solution: Product recall as it needs more analysis and tests.
9. Ecommerce Business
Problem Statement : Sales Quote Output
The quote generation display is critical as sales teams must swiftly generate quotes for customers to make their payments on time.
Problem : The quote generation display in the sales app is faulty, with sales teams complaining that the screen is prone to errors and consumes plenty of time to make it function. These issues have led to lost productivity in the sales department.
Solution : The department needs app improvements by replacing or upgrading existing software.
10. Business Startup
Problem Statement : Inefficient customer data security
Problem : storing customer data in separate data stores with questionable encryption security practices presents operational risks and substantial reputational challenges.
Solution : Enlist the services of an IT expert to help improve the process of storing customer data.
11. Consultancy Firm
Problem Statement: Sales Software Outage
Problem: Collapsing of the manual and automatic communication software for an extended period causes a communication breakdown. One section of the app experienced an outage that the mechanical system failed to pick up. Technicians tried the manual option but experienced error notifications a couple of times. The manual and automatic processes could not redirect calls to the API in a timely process leading to miscommunication and a loss in productivity. The setback arose during core business hours which had a massive negative impact on sales.
Solution : The outage could have been managed if the problem had been detected with API calls being redirected to a different location.
12. SaaS Company
Problem : Users of our software have challenges using it as they have to manually transfer information into the CRM after sending proposals. They need the CRM to track emails, phone calls, and other conversations that involve customer interactions. Without CRM integration, the software causes a frustrating experience for software users.
Solution : Send segmented surveys to determine the most effective CRMs to integrate and customize these integrations to improve user experience.
Problem Statement : Saas platform with an AI assistant for recruiters.
13. Recruitment Firms
Hiring teams experience numerous repetitive hiring tasks, including vetting applications, scheduling or rescheduling interviews, handling cancellations, responding to concerns, and shortlisting applicants at various application stages.
Problem: Plenty of tedious, monotonous manual work takes away the joy of meeting and assessing applicants that perfectly fit job descriptions.
Solution : Utilizing artificial intelligence technology or software applications that automate these processes.
14. Employee Management
Problem: Our organization needs a more secure way of onboarding and offboarding employees because the current system is cumbersome. Hiring managers have to depend on security teams to perform the same tasks.
Solution: automating repetitive onboarding and offboarding processes.
15. Learning Institutions
Problem Statement: Motivation for resolving tech issues Our school needs a work-from-home policy that allows staff to operate remotely.
Problem: Our inexperience is causing us anxiety as we may lose competent staff to our more organized competitors.
Solution: provide our teams with adequate tools and devices to protect the security of our data when staff operate remotely. We must provide secure access to cloud computing software and communication channels like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Learning to use collaboration software will be a mandatory skill for staff.
16. Real Estate
Problem: Despite our real estate company’s decision to benchmark for free trial sign-ups that have remained steady, our paid subscriptions declined in the last few weeks. This means our business isn’t experiencing a traffic setback but a conversion challenge caused by a rise in mortgage interest rates, widespread economic challenges, pricing, and workflow processes.
Solution: Restructure the free trial to offer less value because users gain too much from the free plan, which prevents them from signing up for a paid plan. Currently, users must sign up for a paid plan to access leads of real estate deals. We should also upgrade our software to include additional features that will retain investors on our platform.
17. Software Application
Problem: Users of our newspaper app avoid sharing content through the app and instead export the content from the app. This poses a challenge in our marketing strategy because potential customers need to be made aware that the content shared originates from our app leading to lower conversion rates. It also poses a challenge for app users as exporting range is time-consuming and could decrease app usage.
18. Sales Strategies
Problem: Sales reps conduct manual planning using Excel spreadsheets and typed printout lists. They need more time which leads to difficulty in meeting targets. It also causes challenges in knowing which targets to visit, which affects sales and the inability to meet set goals.
19. Customer Care
Problem: customers call the contact center seeking updates on their applications. Due to the vast volume, many applicants wait long hours to speak to an agent because the call center is understaffed. Employees are ill-equipped and lack adequate access to applicants’ track records, further compounding the backlog. The outcome leads to a frustrating experience for both applicants and staff.
Problem Statement: Using project management software for collaboration improves efficiency and productivity.
20. Problem: Communication breakdown caused by overreliance on an inefficient manual system.
Solution: Introducing technology by integrating a reliable project management system.
21. Problem Statement: Stay-at-home-mums need an avenue to feel connected to a support group as they spend long periods alone.
Solution: An app or social media channel where these mums can interact and network while attending to their babies.
22. Digital Transformation
Problem Statement: Customers need a solution to help them create websites without overreliance on IT experts.
Problem: People detest contacting IT specialists as the process is cumbersome.
Solution: Apps that offer guidance to web users in creating simple websites.
23. Agricultural Firm
Problem Statement: Preserving perishables to minimize wastage.
Problem: Though Jack& Jill Farms provides products to many supermarkets across the country, they consistently experience a loss due to their limited storage capacity and the fact that most of their products are highly perishable.
Solution: Maintain an efficient supply chain to guarantee a ready market once the product leaves the farms. The firm must invest in modern storage facilities to improve preservation and shipping.
24. Waste Management
Problem Statement : Conduct a study on the proper waste management system.
Problem: Manufacturing firms in my area are releasing industrial chemicals into the river leading to environmental degradation.
Solution: Present a research proposal to the city authorities requesting permission to conduct a proper waste management system analysis and devise a viable solution.
25. Virtual Assistant
Problem: Challenges onboarding new clients, which lead to prolonged periods of idleness and a struggle to meet basic needs
Solution: Integrating new technology in marketing and creating awareness for the business.
Other examples of problem statement ideas include:
26. Problem: Fierce competition
Solution: Market the business online and offline using technology and modern strategies.
27. Problem: Unrealistic expectations
Solution: Manage expectations by setting realistic goals.
28. Problem: Challenges in hiring suitable candidates
Solution: Shortlist suitable applicants and review each application noting an applicant’s experience level and skills.
29. Problem: Cyber security threats that lead to unauthorized access to sensitive data.
Solution: Engaging the services of an IT expert.
30. Problem: challenges in gaining client trust
Solution: Develop healthy relationships to improve trust.
31. Problem: Financial setbacks
Solution: Engage the services of a financial expert who can help streamline cash flows and budgetary allocations and share helpful insights.
32. Problem: Uncertainty about the future and not being able to predict customer and market trends
Solution: Consulting the services of an expert who can predict essential trends.
33. Problem: Resisting change.
Solution: Know when to embrace change by firing and hiring new staff or overhauling processes to improve efficiency.
34. Problem: Employee retention
Solution: Addressing employee challenges and offering incentives, and rewarding job performance
35. Problem : Lack of startup capital
Solution: Use locally available material, start small, and consistently plow profits into the business.
36. Problem: Fluctuating prices due to inflation
Problem Statement: Diversify and Optimize
Solution: Altering business models to suit the current prevailing situation.
37. Problem: Administrative Workload
Solution: Outsourcing or hiring temporary staff to handle bookkeeping, repetitive tasks or automating workflows.
38. Problem: Time Management Challenges
Solution: Proper planning and organization by prioritizing and delegating tasks, especially those with short turnaround periods.
39. Problem: Marketing And Advertising Challenges
Solution: Defining what strategies would work best by researching the market and identifying the ideal target market. From there, develop a plan that targets that group.
40. Problem: Low Business Leads To Client Over-Dependence
Solution: Diversify your client base to prevent closing the shop once a major client closes their account with you.
41. Problem: Indiscipline In Money Management
Solution: Learning good financial habits and disciplining oneself to stick to set rules. A business should have a diversified client base to cushion the company when a single client quits or defaults payments.
42. Problem: Work-Related Pressure Leading To Fatigue
Solution: Most successful business owners fall into the habit of overworking, leading to burnout and fatigue. Success doesn’t mean slavery but the ability to integrate balance into one’s activities.
43. Problem: Founder Dependence
Solution: A business that stagnates without its founder is a business with a time limit.
44. Problem Statement: Balancing Growth And Quality
Problem: sometimes, a business must sacrifice to scale up. This means that you may only be able to manage some client relationships personally.
Solution: Navigate the process to allow growth without interfering with the brand.
45. Problem: Meeting Customer Demand
Solution: Awareness of what the customer wants and prioritizing their needs
46. Problem: Maintaining quality customer relations
Solution: Consistency, patience, and nurturing healthy relationships
47. Problem: Preserving a good reputation
The speed of information makes tracking your business’s public image challenging.
Solution: Utilize software or companies that track social media for mentions of your company. With technology, you can get notifications about an arising issue and be able to address it immediately.
48. Problem: Marketing in a saturated marketplace
Solution: Market strategically using unique and compelling messages to attract potential clients
49. Problem: Choosing the right tools
Solution: Identify the need and look for tools that help meet that specific need.
50. Problem: Globalization
Understanding foreign cultures are crucial to penetrating new markets with existing products or services.
Solution: Altering designs to accommodate new markets
Every successful company starts by creating a solution to a need, an important reason your business needs to have a problem statement. The better you articulate the problem, the more treasured your solution will be. Most companies make the mistake of not giving the problem as much importance as the solution. Instead, many entrepreneurs concentrate on the solution and completely forget to explain why the problem is essential. Before your business markets a solution to a problem, make sure your clientele is aware of the problem your business is solving, which is made clear through your problem statement. Comprehensively articulating a problem statement help in improving the effectiveness of your business.
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Mastering the Art of Business Problem Statements: A Comprehensive Guide with Examples
Why is the business problem statement is important.
The business problem statement provides the impetus for a business initiative in practical business related terms. It is a description of an issue currently existing and the context for how it will be addressed.
In a business setting, anyone who is involved in problem-solving or decision-making should be involved in developing a business problem statement. This could include managers, executives, analysts, project managers, or subject matter experts.
Typically, the responsibility for developing a problem statement falls on the person or team that is leading the effort to address the problem. This may be a project manager, a cross-functional team, or an individual responsible for a specific area of the business – including the Business Analyst!
In some cases, it may be appropriate to involve external consultants or experts in developing a problem statement. This can bring fresh perspectives and specialised knowledge to the problem-solving process.
Ultimately, the goal is to involve all relevant stakeholders in developing a problem statement to ensure that the problem is fully understood and the proposed solutions are feasible and effective.
Developing a business problem statement is important for several reasons:
- Clarify the problem: Developing a problem statement helps you to clarify and define the problem you are trying to solve. This can help you to focus your efforts on the key issues and avoid wasting time and resources on non-essential tasks.
- Identify the root causes: A well-crafted problem statement can help you to identify the root causes of the problem. This is important because it allows you to develop effective solutions that address the underlying issues rather than just treating the symptoms.
- Communicate with stakeholders: A problem statement provides a clear and concise summary of the problem and its impact. This can help you to communicate effectively with stakeholders and get their buy-in for your proposed solutions.
- Measure progress: A problem statement provides a baseline for measuring progress. By defining the problem and its impact, you can track your progress over time and determine whether your solutions are effective.
- Prioritise resources: A problem statement can help you to prioritise your resources and focus on the most critical problems. This is especially important in situations where resources are limited, and you need to make strategic decisions about where to allocate your time and money.
Developing a business problem statement is essential for effective problem-solving. It helps to clarify the problem, identify the root causes, communicate with stakeholders, measure progress, and prioritise resources.
When to Develop Problem Statements
You can develop a problem statement whenever you need to identify and analyse a problem, and develop solutions to address it. Some specific situations where this can occur include:
- Project initiation: When starting a new project, a problem statement template can be used to define the scope and objectives of the project, and identify potential risks and issues that may impact the project’s success.
- Process improvement: When looking to improve a business process, product, or service, a problem statement template can be used to identify and analyse the root causes of the problem, and develop solutions to address them.
- Research projects: When developing a research project, a problem statement template can be used to formulate research questions, and identify the gaps and limitations in existing literature or data.
- Policy development: When developing policies and programs to address social, economic, or environmental issues, a problem statement template can be used to identify and analyse the policy issue, and develop evidence-based solutions.
- Strategic planning: When developing a strategic plan for an organisation, a problem statement template can be used to identify and analyse the challenges and opportunities facing the organisation, and develop a roadmap for achieving its goals.
Overall, you can use a problem statement template whenever you need to identify and analyse a problem, and develop solutions to address it. Categorisation will help you develop a structured, consistent, and efficient approach to problem-solving.
Categorisation of Business Problem Statements
There are several ways to categorise business problem statements, and the specific categories may vary depending on the organisation or industry. Here are some common ways to categorise business problem statements:
- Functional area: Categorise the problem statement based on the functional area of the business that is affected. For example, problems related to marketing, finance, operations, human resources, or information technology.
- Customer impact: Categorise the problem statement based on the impact on customers or clients. For example, problems related to customer satisfaction, retention, acquisition, or loyalty.
- Business process: Categorise the problem statement based on the business process that is affected. For example, problems related to supply chain management, product development, sales, or customer service.
- Strategic priority: Categorise the problem statement based on the strategic priority of the organisation. For example, problems related to growth, innovation, cost reduction, or risk management.
- Industry or market: Categorise the problem statement based on the industry or market in which the business operates. For example, problems related to competition, changing customer needs, or regulatory compliance.
- Business architecture. Categorise the problem statement based on capabilities to help you understand business capability maturity, the impacts on change, and opportunities for improvement. See below for categories.
By categorising business problem statements, you can better understand the scope and nature of the problems and develop targeted solutions that address the root causes of the problems. This can help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your problem-solving efforts.
Business Architecture Categories
Problem statements can be described in a single statement followed by a real example to emphasise the issue. When developing an understanding of the problems to be resolved think across the seven broad areas shown below and ask questions accordingly. Examples are given for each category using the architectural approach with the capability subsets of: strategy; service/products, people; processes; applications; information, and infrastructure.
- Poor alignment with business objectives.
- Initiatives are currently not aligned to an overall vision.
- Siloed implementation of projects.
2. Service / Products
- Impediment to service delivery due to untimely retrieval of information.
- Slow responsiveness in engaging sales leads due to untimely retrieval of information.
- High level of product returns due to errors made on sales orders.
- Inadequate training of staff and/or lack of capacity for staff to support areas of the business experiencing bottlenecks.
- Poorly defined roles and responsibilities creates confusion and poor responsiveness to operational demands.
- Poor service delivery due to staff capacity and training issues.
- Myriad of duplicated business processes and applications.
- Intensive manual processing due to physical handling of paperwork, mail outs and manual coordination of events.
- Double data entry and manual maintenance of data in spread sheets or personal databases.
- Poorly developed functionality due to inadequate definition of business and functional requirements.
- Out of date functionality caused by a constantly evolving business climate.
- Little or no application support due to proprietary or redundant software.
- Unstructured information and content stored on various devices making search and retrieval very difficult.
- No metadata attached to information making search and retrieval difficult.
- Disparate methods of coding the same types of datasets in disparate repositories.
- Not a lot known about all systems making the strategic coordination of maintenance difficult.
- Multiple applications are supported on multiple systems creating unnecessary maintenance overheads by supporting duplicate systems.
When you have understood problems, describe the risks associated with each to fully emphasise the potential impacts on the business (e.g. costs, inefficiencies, and lost opportunities).
A Problem Statement Example in Business
Below is an example describing a problem statement, description and associated risk for a highly manual business process that can easily be resolved with technology.
Problem Statement: Intensive manual processing due to physical handling of paperwork. Description : Annual leave forms are typically filled out by the Employee, printed, sent to the Manager/Delegate for approval, sent to Human Resources for verification and data entry, scanned and uploaded to the EDRMS, and then sent to Payroll for (re) data entry. Risk : This highly manual scenario leads to ‘bottlenecks’ in service delivery and promotes the risk of poor organisational response to business and lost time that should be spent carrying out core business.
Tools for Developing Problem Statements
To develop the problem statement and associated risks of a project, engage with managers and subject matter experts within the relevant business areas. Ask them questions specific to your categorisation approach to bring out the details of where the problems lie. This approach can be implemented in the project’s initial set up and analysis phases irrespective of the methodology (i.e., Agile or Waterfall) being utilised. It is useful for developing project mandates and business cases.
There are several tools you can use to write a business problem statement, including:
- Brainstorming: Gather a group of stakeholders or team members and brainstorm all of the potential problems facing the business. Narrow down the list to the most pressing issues and identify the root cause of each problem.
- SWOT analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to identify the internal and external factors impacting the business. Use this analysis to pinpoint the key problem areas.
- Fishbone diagram: Use a fishbone diagram (also known as an Ishikawa diagram) to identify the potential causes of a problem. This tool can help you visualise the different factors contributing to the problem and narrow down the root cause.
- 5 Whys: Ask “why” five times to get to the root cause of a problem. This technique can help you dig deeper into the underlying issues and identify the root cause of a problem. The Five Whys is an excellent technique to support your questioning approach.
- Problem Statement Template: Use a template to guide you through the process of writing a problem statement. A good problem statement template will prompt you to identify the problem, the impact it’s having on the business, the root cause, and potential solutions.
- Consult an expert: If you’re struggling to identify the problem or need help framing it in a concise and clear manner, consider consulting an expert in business analysis or strategy. They can provide valuable insights and guidance.
Specific Steps in Developing Problem Statements
Here are some steps to help you develop a problem statement:
- Identify the problem: Start by identifying the problem you want to solve. The problem should be specific, measurable, and relevant to your goals or objectives.
- Understand the context: Gather information about the problem and its impact. This could include data, research studies, reports, or input from stakeholders.
- Define the problem: Clearly define the problem by breaking it down into its key components. Use one of the tools mentioned above to get a comprehensive understanding of the problem.
- Analyse the problem: Analyse the problem by identifying the root causes, the impact on stakeholders, and the potential consequences of not addressing the problem.
- Create a problem statement: Use the information gathered in the previous steps to create a problem statement that summarises the problem, its impact, and its root causes. The problem statement should be concise, clear, and focused on the key issues.
- Refine the problem statement: Review and refine the problem statement to ensure that it accurately and clearly describes the problem and its impact. Refine the language, structure and categorisation as needed.
- Validate the problem statement: Validate the problem statement by testing it with stakeholders and subject matter experts. Get feedback on the clarity, accuracy, and relevance of the problem statement.
By following these steps, you can develop a problem statement that provides a clear and concise overview of the problem and its impact. This will help you to focus your efforts on developing effective solutions that address the root causes of the problem.
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Problem Statement: What It Is, How to Write + Examples
A well-defined problem statement is the foundation of any successful project, research, or initiative. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or an entrepreneur, understanding a problem statement and how to craft one effectively is crucial.
In this blog post, we will dive deep into problem statements, explaining what they are, how to write them, and providing real-life examples to guide you.
What Is a Problem Statement?
A problem statement is a concise and clear description of an issue or challenge that needs to be addressed. It serves as a roadmap for problem-solving and decision-making, helping individuals and teams define the scope of their work and focus on the most critical aspects of a problem.
The problem statement underscores the need for exploring viable solutions and potential solutions to tackle the rising energy consumption in our community.
A well-crafted problem statement should be:
- Specific: Clearly define the problem, avoiding vague or general descriptions.
- Measurable: Include criteria to assess the success or completion of the solution.
- Achievable: Ensure that the problem can be solved or improved within reasonable constraints.
- Relevant: Align the problem statement with your goals and objectives.
- Time-bound: Set a timeframe for solving the problem or achieving progress.
When to Use a Problem Statement
A problem statement is a concise and clear description of an issue or challenge that needs to be addressed. It is often used in various contexts, including business, research , project management, and problem-solving.
Here are some key elements of situations in which you should use to write a problem statement in a brief and focused manner:
- Project Proposals: When proposing a project, whether it’s for a business world initiative or a research endeavor, concise writing problem statements help stakeholders understand why the project is necessary and what it aims to solve.
- Business Plans: A brief error statement can provide context for the business goals and objectives in a business plan or strategy document. It helps identify the specific market or industry challenges the business addresses.
- Research Proposals: In academic or scientific research proposals, a succinct error statement outlines the research question or problem the study intends to investigate. It sets the stage for the research objectives and methodology.
- Product Development: When creating a new product or service, a short problem statement helps the design process and development teams focus on solving a specific user or market problem.
- Policy Development: In the public sector, government agencies and policymakers often use error statements to define and communicate the issues that need attention, leading to the formulation of policies or regulations.
- Conflict Resolution: In conflict resolution or mediation processes, a concise error statement can help parties involved in a dispute to understand the core issues and work towards a resolution.
- Quality Improvement: In quality management or process improvement initiatives, a brief error statement helps identify the areas in a process where improvements are needed.
- Marketing and Advertising: When creating marketing campaigns or advertising materials, a problem statement can be used to highlight a consumer’s pain point and show how a product or service can solve it.
- Innovation Challenges: In innovation competitions or hackathons, participants often start by defining a clear and concise error statement before brainstorming a proposed solution.
- Personal Goals: Even in personal development or goal-setting, it can be helpful to formulate a concise problem statement to clarify what you want to achieve and why.
How to Write an Effective Problem Statement
Writing an effective problem statement is crucial for any project, research, or initiative because it sets the stage for addressing the issue at hand. A well-crafted problem statement clarifies the problem, provides context, and serves as a guide for developing and implementing solutions.
Here are the steps to write an effective problem statement:
01. Understand the Problem:
Begin by thoroughly understanding the problem you intend to address. Conduct research, gather data, and talk to relevant stakeholders to gain insights into the issue. Identify the scope and boundaries of the problem.
02. Define the Problem Clearly:
Your problem statement should be clear and concise. Avoid vague or ambiguous language. State the problem in simple terms so anyone reading it can understand the issue.
03. Provide Context:
Give background information to help readers understand the problem’s significance. Explain why it is important, who it affects, and what its implications are. Provide relevant statistics, trends, or examples to illustrate the problem’s financial costs, scope and impact.
04. Identify the Root Cause:
Try to identify the underlying causes or factors contributing to the problem. This will help address the issue at its core rather than just its symptoms.
05. Be Specific:
Avoid broad or generic problem statements. Instead, narrow down the problem to a specific issue that can be tackled effectively. Specificity will make it easier to develop targeted solutions.
06. Use Measurable Criteria:
Include measurable criteria for success. This allows you to evaluate whether the problem has been resolved or improvements have been made. Quantifiable metrics help in tracking progress.
07. Make It Feasible:
Ensure that the problem statement reflects a realistic and achievable challenge. It should be addressed within your resources and constraints.
08. Avoid Solution Language:
This should focus on describing the problem, not proposing solutions. Avoid phrases like “we need to do X” or “we should implement Y.” Save the solution-oriented discussions for later in the design thinking process.
09. Consider the Audience:
Tailor your own problem statement to the audience it is intended for. Use language and terminology that your audience can understand and relate to. Adapt the level of technical detail accordingly.
10. Seek Feedback:
Share your problem statement with colleagues, experts, or stakeholders to gather feedback and refine it. Their input can help ensure clarity and completeness.
11. Revise and Refine:
Continue to revise and refine the error statement as you gather more information and insights. It may evolve as your understanding of the problem deepens.
12. Test for Objectivity:
Ensure that your problem statement is free from bias and reflects a balanced perspective. Avoid making assumptions or assigning blame without evidence.
Examples of Problem Statements
The problem statement serves as the foundation for your research, outlining the key challenges and issues we aim to address in just a few sentences and providing a clear direction for our study. To further illustrate how to create effective problem statements, let’s explore some real-life problem statement examples:
Example 1: Education
“The high school dropout rate in our community has risen by 20% over the past two years, negatively impacting our future workforce. We need to implement targeted intervention programs to reduce dropout rates and ensure a more educated workforce.”
Example 2: Healthcare
“Patients in our clinic often face long wait times for appointments, resulting in dissatisfaction and delays in medical care. We must streamline our appointment scheduling process to reduce wait times and improve patient’s customer satisfaction ratings.”
Example 3: Business
“Our e-commerce website experiences a high cart abandonment rate, leading to lost sales opportunities. We must identify the reasons for cart abandonment and implement strategies to increase conversion rates.”
A well-crafted problem statement is fundamental for effective problem-solving in any field or endeavor. Following the steps outlined in this blog post and studying the examples provided can enhance your ability to define, address, and ultimately solve complex problems.
Whether you’re a student tackling a research project or a professional seeking to improve your organization’s processes, mastering the art of problem statement writing is a valuable skill that can lead to greater success.
QuestionPro streamlines problem-solving with versatile surveys, data analysis, segmentation, and real-time reporting. It offers a comprehensive toolkit for gathering valuable insights, facilitating informed decision-making, and addressing problem statements effectively.
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