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My Startup is on the Wrong Track. What Do I Do?

Last Updated on September 11, 2020

Gosh I spent the last six months... I spent the last year... And how many tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hours have I put into this to get it to where it's at?

Welcome to #AskCodelation. Today’s question is: “I think my startup is on the wrong track, what do I do?”

This is a great question. We’ve had number of products that we’ve started ourselves internally and tried to take to market. We’d get a certain amount of traction happening, we’d acquire some customers, and then we would realize something’s not quite right.

Sometimes the market is a little too broad, it’s difficult to retain customers, or a variety of other challenges. Something’s just not quite right and you feel like you need to make a change.

It’s probably one of the toughest things you’re going to have to do within your software startup: making a really big pivot. It’s hard because you’re looking at what you’ve built, thinking, “Gosh I spent the last six months… I spent the last year… And how many tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hours have I put into this to get it to where it’s at? And now we have to scrap that and go a different direction?”

It’s very possible you’ll have to do this at some point. It all goes back to your target market. What are people willing to pay for? If you have trouble getting people to sign up for your product and it’s free? That’s one thing. If you have trouble getting them to sign up for it and it’s paid? That’s possibly a different problem. It could be the pricing that you’re charging. It could be that there’s just not enough value there.

Really dig into your paying users to determine what isn’t working. See if you can get a couple of them on a call. See if you can send out a survey. Find out which features they’re liking and which ones they’re not. Or maybe there are features you don’t offer that they wish you did?

Really try to get into their heads about how to position your product or service. Surprisingly enough, we’ve found that there is a chance you may be pricing yourself too low. It’s easy to look at it and say, “I’m charging $19.00 a month for this thing and I gotta a feeling it’s just too much”, when in reality, pricing higher comes with all kinds of other benefits.

But that’s a different story all together. So to get back to the original question, if you feel like you might be on the wrong track, go back to your target users and really try to figure out where the value is for them. Also think about other niches or verticals that can take your product and position it into the place you want to be.

With our product Booth, a small business phone system, we’ve ran into issues from Grasshopper, RingCentral, and Google Voice. So we’re really trying to position it more as a niche product in the real estate space.

And that’s what we’re hearing from our customers. So hopefully you can take this advice, apply that back to your own product or startup and find success. So we’ll see you next time.

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