One of the harder challenges in a startup is figuring out how long to stay the course. Traction almost always doesn’t happen overnight. Pinterest took four years before the media started noticing it. Incremental progress is often evident but it’s not clear that success is inevitable.

Here are a few questions when the startup path is unclear:

  • Problem – How well is the problem defined? How many people have the problem? How painful is the problem?
  • Feedback – What type of feedback do prospects and users provide? How strong is the feedback? How consistent is the feedback?
  • Metrics – What are the weekly metrics? What’s the week-over-week growth? At this rate, when will the metrics look “good?”
  • Next Steps – How clear are the next steps? Are there several OK options or one or two excellent options?

Staying the course or pivoting is a regular question for entrepreneurs when success is elusive. Often, there’s no obvious answer but asking these questions helps.

What else? What are some more questions to think through when the startup path is unclear?