• jzitek@harborcapitalgroupinc.com
  • +1 612-978-7222
  • Bloomington, MN 55437

How do you restart a stalled early-stage company

 Often startups are launched before the founder(s) have determined the viability of their business idea, and eventually, for many reasons, the startup runs into trouble. Other times, there are Initial revenues, but they are irregular, don’t last, or they don’t grow as expected. How can you fix this?

In either case, you need to start diagnosing the problem by using the same analysis you would use to determine the viability of your business idea initially. If you haven’t launched yet, you need to assess the feasibility of your business idea before you launch. However, if you have begun, this same analysis would be the fastest way to diagnose the problem and see where you might be able to change, modify, or pivot to restart the pathway to success. 

First Look At The Market  

1 What is the market size or demand? If you don’t know, you can get some idea from Google Keyword Learning Tool (number of people searching for a keyword) https://ads.google.com/home/resources/using-google-ads-keyword-planner/

Also, Buzzsumo ( https://buzzsumo.com/ (number of people each day talking about your product).

2 Who are your competitors?  

The more you know, the fewer surprises. This analysis also gives you an enormous amount of information about products, pricing, various business models, etc 

3 Is this market trending, and in which direction?  

Which direction is market headed. Google Trends, https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US can help you learn if a trend is growing or not.

4 Who are your target customers?

Who is a buyer, influencer, disrupter, etc.? You can use websites like Quantcast https://www.quantcast.com/ and Alexa https://www.alexa.com to find out more about demographic information of the potential market.

You can also learn about people in your target audience from Twitter. Who follows your interest, demographics, age, sex, etc.? Hashtag your keywords.  

5 What does it cost to acquire customers?   

Acquisition costs are critical.  How will you acquire customers, and what will it cost to get them? One way is to find out how to use Landing Pages. 

Using social media, AdWords, etc., test for people searching for your product and your messaging, and drive them to a landing page. Make sure you have a strong Call For Action based on your value proposition aimed at getting the information you want, email information, or potential sales. From these click-through rates, you can begin to estimate conversion rates and costs. Plus, you can continue to correspond with them for more information.


6 Challenge your assumptions

You likely will get some information with which you will disagree. You don’t want to accept everything at face value (in discussions with prospects also), but you have to challenge your strong held biases, You are looking for something different. Something that will lead you to a better way to position or operate your company.   

It may take many trials and evaluations to get all the information you need, so keep at it until you are confident you have insights that will lead you forward.

Has your market assessment changed?   

This blog is the first of three blogs on this subject I plan to write in the future. The next one will deal with product viability.

You might also like 15 Benefits Of Storytelling In Businesses

Jim Zitek, Harblor Capital Group Inc

We empower entrepreneurs with information, insights, and the conviction they need to find, develop, and embed their stories throughout the development process to build successful companies.


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