When should we start getting worried? (selling software)


Assume the following situation:

  • You are small
  • Developing a product for a niche market
  • Your product is better than others (I know it's not, but for the sake of argument let's say it's )
  • No marketing budget (can't get much press coverage)
  • You've got cash to go on as much as you want without making a cent

How long should we wait before re-considering our decisions and path? How long did you wait? Maybe everything was correct from the beginning but it just took a year to be profitable for other reasons?

For example we released a new product and it received much less attention than our expectations after a week. Shall we wait another week, month, year before we say this was a failure?

I know this is vague but I'm curios about other software companies stories and experiences. How long did it take for you get there? Or to understand you are doing something completely wrong.

Don't treat this as a question as I know there is no definitive answer and it all depends on million other things. Just want to hear what was your experience and view on the subject, especially if you've been there before About Software

  • Windows desktop software for doing Q/A for websites
  • Target audience is governments, e-business and anyone with a website and enough motivation to care about their website's quality
  • Depending on the version price tag is about $2500
UPDATE - 7 Months Later

It turned out to be all we need was time. 7 months later I came across my own post :) Right now we are selling good, we have a steady increase in sales and just FYI, so we just wait stick with the idea, believed in product and obviously made it better in 7 months. But I don't think that anything we've done directly effected the sales, it just took time for more people to see & try it.

Thanks a lot everyone whom share their insight.

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asked Apr 11 '10 at 03:22
The Dictator
2,305 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Thanks for the update. It adds a lot to the picture. – rbwhitaker 10 years ago

3 Answers


These types of questions are infinitely difficult to respond to since they lack significant context, however I will place my response in the context of a development *stage * venture as follows:

Your asking a good question but in the wrong sequence, the question(s) to be asked at the moment (based on your input) is - have we sufficiently identified the following?

  1. Who is our customer?
  2. What are the benefits? (What benefits will our customer pay for?)
  3. What is the channel of distribution? (How will we deliver the "benefits" our customer is willing to pay for?)

(Obviously, you can add more questions to the inquiry, but these are the most fundamental questions of any business with hopes of viability.)

Once you have substantive answers to the above, you will have a pathway to your answer.

In my experience, once you've reached a point where you need to reassess the answers to the above questions, the understanding of what to do is clear - review, re-review, reconsider, reinvent, reposition and re-whatever - NOW! These questions may help to get you started: What does a re-examination of our research tell us?

Have we made any sales? Why, why not? To whom? How often? Under what conditions?

Do we have any feedback from customers or prospects? How have we applied such feedback to improving our business model, product, customer satisfaction, etc.?

Where do our sales leads come from and who is responsible for providing them?

Who are our competitiors? Why do our targeted customers do their business with others vs us?

Have we misidentified our market, customer or benefit proposition and so on?

In simple terms, beat the "daylites" out of your mission statement, purpose and business model before declaring it a failure. Often times as entrepreneurs, we don't perform enough research (homework) in the beginning and we make mistakes such as falling in love with our product or ideas and viewing them exclusively through our own eyes vs that of the customer and marketplace.

It's always more difficult to be successful when one develops a solution (benefits) before identifying or understanding the problem that it's designed to solve (this is very common when a product is developed in a vacuum and is viewed as proprietary by its developer). Furthermore, creating benefit propositions in advance of customer participation is by nature, extremely risky.

In reality, there is probably a weak link that has been overlooked somewhere in your business model that is having a negative impact on how your product/service is being perceived in the marketplace. As a result, stopping "now" to refocus on the most fundamental elements of entrepreneurship should eventually help you to rediscover your purpose and answer your question of the day.

Good Luck

answered Apr 12 '10 at 03:52
Tommy Jaye
231 points


What do you want to achieve? Do you want a small successful lifestyle company or the next google? A week is not a long time to build a successful business - especially the last week when all the news has been dominated by the IPad....

answered Apr 11 '10 at 04:26
Mark Stephens
976 points
  • I want to make money :) Not necessarily as big as Google though. The question is how was you experience or people you know and when this 1 year or 10 year starts? After first launch? When you start developing the product? After first sale? After first big sale? – The Dictator 14 years ago


I believe the way to go is figure out why people is not buying and then, if there's anything you can do about it, do it, if not, drop it. I believe A Smart Bear blog has some posts in figuring out why people is not buying

answered Apr 11 '10 at 22:27
J. Pablo Fernández
412 points

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