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4 Ways to Save a Failing Startup


The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “What are some tips for maintaining a successful startup?” is written by Dave Idell, cofounder and CEO of Croissant.

Your growth rate is starting to slow, and things aren’t going the way you imagined. You find yourself questioning the business and are unsure as to how you should move forward.

If you’ve ever had this feeling, you’re not alone. Every successful startup has gone through rough patches—both in the early days and after years of growth. In either case, here’s what you can do to get back on an upward path:

First and foremost, you should know what your major, long-term goals are, as they’ll be the basis for achieving anything in life and business. If your long-term goal is to be worldwide with millions of users, for example, yet you only have 1,000, your work isn’t done. The next step is to figure out how to keep growing. If your goal is to just hit 1,000 users and coast on the revenue, you can just maintain your startup as a side business, or sell it and move onto something else.

See also: The One Thing Great Leaders Always Do

Second, work backwards from your long-term goals and figure out the next steps. If your goal is to have a million users, and your method for obtaining the first thousand is no longer working, change gears. Pretend you just took over the company, and this is the current state that it’s in. You wouldn’t want to use the same tactics the company used when it first started. So you’ll have to be more formal in your approach to marketing, which might mean bringing in an expert to come up with a tactical plan and tracking analytics more closely.

Third, try to form a daily routine where you ensure consistent execution. Your plan is already in place, so you’ll want to track your progress by keeping an eye on your analytics goals. You should start to see progress in the form of a 5%-to-10% growth rate week over week. If you’re hitting those numbers, feel free to stop and smell the roses along the way, but don’t get lazy. Leave that chip on your shoulder and keep plowing ahead. If you’re not maintaining that growth rate after a few months, ask yourself if you need to switch it up again.


It can be hard to predict when the plan needs to change, but one rule of thumb is to change it up at each order of magnitude. For example, your method of getting from 100 to 1,000 users is going to be different when you go from 1,000 to 10,000. It’s a great time to do a thorough double-check to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Fourth, rinse and repeat. If you need to change things up, start over at step one. Re-check your long-term goals, figure out the next steps, and execute. Get help from your peers and mentors if necessary. Even if everything is working fine, stay frosty and begin planning for the next downturn. There will be lots of bad days ahead, filled with mistakes, missed targets, and failed plans. But it’s a normal part of the startup lifestyle, and you’ll have to get used to it if you want to survive. Learn from everything, especially these mistakes. That’s how you gain the wisdom and foresight to continue growth when things have stalled. That little nugget you learned the last time around will point you in the right direction.

Dave Idell is an entrepreneur and the CEO and cofounder of Croissant. Croissant provides on-demand coworking space in New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C.