How to Handle the New Startup Slump



So you’re working on a startup. You’ve found a few good team members, caught the attention of at least one potential investor, and are getting ready to get your first product out the door. As hard as this work is, it’s actually the honeymoon period of your business: the halcyon time in which possibilities are endless and anything can happen.

After the honeymoon period, of course, comes the slump. Maybe you launched your product, but the initial interest wasn’t quite as big as you had hoped. Maybe you had an amazingly successful launch, but now sales have plateaued or dropped off completely. Maybe you didn’t make it to the front page of the iTunes App Store, didn’t get that review in Ars Technica, didn’t get that second round of funding.

Or maybe you did all of that, and you’re still slumping. It’s bound to happen at some point: what goes up must come down, and the initial high of a new startup is always replaced by a slump at some point. If you’re currently in the slump, here are a few things to do to ride it through and begin your upward trajectory again.

Rest
When did you last take a vacation? How about your team members? Americans in particular are notorious for skipping vacations, especially in startup culture where long hours and full commitment are paramount.

However, burnout is real, and it is one of the key causes of that slumpy feeling. By going away for a while, you allow your mind to open up to new experiences and stop running in the same old ruts. To quote startup CEO Justin Moore, a long holiday “allowed me to clearly see the answers to two important business decisions  that I had struggled with prior to taking a break.”

Money
Is your slump money-related? Instead of looking at a bunch of endless possibilities and funding options, are you staring at dried-up funding sources and a bunch of unpaid bills? This kind of money trouble is enough to drain the morale of even the most exciting startup.

The truth is that money trouble is less related to the quality of your product than it is to the way your business manages its finances. A lot of startup owners jump in and assume they’ll know how to handle their own accounting, but they end up causing themselves a lot of financial stress instead.

It’s time to outsource, even if you think you can’t afford it. A good accounts receivable financing team will help you bring money into your business, streamline your cash flow, and make sure you are free to focus on your strengths instead of trying to solve your business’s financial problems.

The Second Launch
For your first product launch, anything seemed possible. Now that you’re approaching a second product launch, you have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. You have a more realistic estimation of how much your second product will make. You also know exactly how much grunt work is involved in successfully taking your product to market. This makes a second product launch seem less like an exciting endeavor and more like a chore.

How do you solve this type of slump? First, you celebrate your small wins. Did you clean up your stockroom so you can stack new inventory? Find some way to reward yourself.

Secondly, you rally your team. Every startup has its drudge periods, but with the right people around you, you can bring excitement back into even the most mundane tasks. As Lefty at My Life, Starting Up writes: “This is the one reason why I’d never do a startup without passionate people.”

So? Are you ready to get yourself out of the slump? Maybe book that vacation, or hire your new accounting team? If you have other tips for startup owners and new entrepreneurs, leave them in the comments.

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