The Telltale Sign of a Struggling Company

Sign of a struggling company

I can tell if a company is struggling based on the number of product features and their funding round.

You're probably wondering... what do those two metrics have in common?

A lot.

Why adding features is not the answer

Companies struggling with growth default to adding more features. In hopes of capturing more customers, the product becomes a mile wide and inch deep. For each new customer that walks in the door, they build a feature.

Before long, they have a product that does a million different things... not so well. They're feeling around in the dark, hoping that each new feature will drive new growth... but it doesn't.

What it does do well is cause headaches for the product and sales teams as they try to sell multiple variations of the same product and they're met with... "so wait... what does your product do? Who is it for?"

You're walking the fields looking for oil.

The best companies do the opposite

These companies go an inch wide and a mile deep, nailing their ICP (ideal customer profile) and serving that ICP until they've exhausted it. Only then do they explore additional segments and build features to serve those segments.

The seed round to series A funding should be in "going a mile deep" mode. If they're not, their product will show it via feature bloat.

If you've raised a seed to series A, you're not in expansion mode yet, so your feature set should be limited. You should be laser-focused. You found oil and you're digging for it until there is no more oil to dig for, then looking for more oil.

It isn't until you're moving beyond series A that the product should expand to serve new segments and look for more oil.

Early stage companies with a product feature list a mile long are a clear indication that you're looking for oil but haven't found it yet.

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