The day you decide to start up your business, you become hopeful to have a bright future. Every day you will have to work harder and harder and you will always end up running out of time or motivation or both.
Roadblocks are one thing. Titanic-sinking icebergs are another. As a founder, you have to decide which is which—and whether to stay the course or abandon ship.
Are People Concerned About The Problem You’re Solving?
Be honest with yourself while answering this question, “Are you gaining traction?” More importantly, you must focus on gaining traction without paying for it. If you are doing so, that is a good sign. Make this your motivation to press on. Look at it this way, even if nothing else seems to be going right in your business, you would know, that at least, you are contributing by solving a problem that someone is facing.
If you do not see organic demand and even paid traffic isn’t converting, it’s time to revisit the lifeblood of your business. Find a new problem that fulfils one of the following criteria:
- One you struggle with.
- One person around you struggle with.
- One that has some impact on the world.
- Is Your Product Able to Solve That Problem?
Satisfying your customer is the key to focus on; and it is not about email subscribers or app downloads. The only one real benchmark of success to measure your success on is that “Are you able to get your users from Point A to the finish line?”
This is product-market fit — and you can recognise it when users can’t wait to tell you their success story. If, on the other hand, product-market fit is not happening for you, you should turn to your users first. Find out where are they getting distracted to. Explore the maximum you can, pivot if you require to, and keep developing until you have a product that satisfies your market.
Which Direction Is Your Arrow Pointing In?
Positive momentum is like a vote of confidence from the market. Negative momentum brings to your notice that something is broken. And if there is no momentum then that is what’s the real kiss of death.
It happened to me twice, when I was in my late teens and didn’t know any better. With no money for marketing, my dev shop and my classifieds site stagnated. We had enough organic traffic to keep going indefinitely, but I didn’t just want to build a business that could survive. I wanted to build a business that could scale. Stuck in a rut, I lost my drive and shuttered both companies.
If you have hit a ceiling and are not able to break through, find someone who can, ideally an appropriate advisor in your industry. If you find a problem worth solving, a solution worth applying, and a positive momentum to look forward to, you’re already halfway there.