What do you do when the ship is going in the wrong direction? That's what I'm facing in the startup I'm running.
My partner and I set a course we thought was right and true. Our board and investors, a group of very intelligent people, thought our plan and logic were sound.
A year into our venture, we have little revenue to show for vast amounts of work. Day after day, we learn new things that cause us to reconsider our original strategy. Last month, I said I was tired of treading water, and I could see the team was getting frustrated. One of our top people even told me he would be looking for a new job at the end of the year if we didn't start making serious progress.
I have been down this path before, which is full of thorns and pain. This situation requires a serious reevaluation of the business model and success factors. We will cloister in a board room to evaluate the following:
Assessing service: We need to look at our value proposition.
- Strengths of our service
- Weaknesses of our service
- Adjectives that prospects have used to describe what they like about our service
- Price: Can we beat theirs?
- Service: We will honestly look at ourselves and determine if we truly offer a better service and, if not, where do we fall short? There may be things the competition is doing that we need to emulate.
Market: The question for us is if we are selling to the right market, so we have to ask the following:
- What's the size of the companies having the greatest pain that our service can alleviate?
- Which industries would most likely use our service?
- Which geographic area should we target?
- Which companies will make the quickest decisions? The worst part of selling is being in limbo, where people tell you they like what you offer but don't make a decision.