Not Gaining Traction: What is holding you back?

Not gaining traction? Let’s explore what could be happening.

One of the main reasons that startups fail is because they have done no, or very little, customer discovery. That is the same for solopreneurs. Going through that process requires a long runway and the acknowledgment that it will take some time to go through that customer discovery process.

There won’t be significant revenue immediately. It is best to be realistic while you are working out the kinks in your product, its delivery, to whom it is being sold to and where they are located.

Whenever I work with a client who isn’t gaining traction, one of the first things that I ask them is whether they have done any kind of customer discovery. Most of the time the answer is no—very simply put, they came up with what they were going to offer, identified their potential clients, and jumped right into selling.

When I ask what problem they are solving for their potential customers—is it something that they think their customers want or is it something that they think that their customers need—often times it is something they think their customers need. When I ask how they identified their ideal customers, once again there hasn’t been a lot of due diligence.

There are several variables at play as to why you might not be gaining traction: you aren’t offering a product or service that people want, you aren’t filling a void in the market, if it is a product that is similar to others, you aren’t differentiated enough, you aren’t going to where your customers are ie you are marketing in the wrong channels or aren’t going to the right networking groups.

These are some of the variables that could be addressed to see which one or a combination of several is keeping you from gaining traction.

Figuring out which variable, or combination of variables, isn’t working requires taking a step back, doing some data analysis around what you have been doing, filling in some gaps with market research, developing a sound product and client avatar, and get out there and attracting your avatar and testing and refining your product or service.

It will also help if you can acknowledge that you are still in discovery mode and won’t be making tons of money until you get the right combination of variables, everything clicks, and then you will have liftoff. What you are going through is what every new solopreneur goes through. You are not alone.

How does that feel? A little less stressful? That is what I thought. If you focus on what I have mentioned, you will figure out what isn’t working, be able to adjust it, and start to gain traction, I promise.