Advice, Startups

Bogged Down? Advice for Start-Up Companies

You have a biomedical product in the works. You’ve started up a medical device company.  You have funding, the big deadline, and a good idea of where you want to be…and then it happens, you get bogged down.



It’s that feeling of being unable to do anything or having too much on your shoulders.


Did you know that the phrase “all bogged down” comes from the experience of walking across uneven or unknown terrain?  Walking through a bog can really slow you down, or even get you stuck.


This feeling can skew your perception of what’s around you, making you feel like you have fewer resources than you actually do.  It negatively impacts your work performance.

Studies show that your affect towards your work directly impacts your performance.

Positive affects drive the focus positively—while negative affects drive the focus negatively.

This means that if you feel positive towards your work, you’ll perform better—but that’s easier said than done.



You want your start-up to succeed. 


Much like a farmer readying their land for planting, starting a company takes a lot of work.  You have a deadline that must be met so that your “harvest” will come to fruition. Missing that deadline will be very costly.  So, on you go, getting your “soil” ready for seeding with a mindset that is always reminding you of consequences.

You want to make progress and you don’t want to fail.


Everyone wants to see their hard work pay off


Developing a new product comes with many challenges, from patents to prototyping to manufacturing.

For a beginning company, it is very easy to overlook some steps, especially when you’re focused on that deadline and the costs: not enough “employees”; task items taking twice as long as anticipated; etc.

There is always something extra to do that isn’t driving the project forward…  Next thing you know, your company−your tractor−is stuck and you are not moving forward.


ImageDell Balallan(Fordson Tractor Pages Forum)
Image: Dell Balallan (Fordson Tractor Pages Forum)


“Why me?”—you may think.

Overwhelmed and stressed out, you feel like the odds are stacked against you.  You may feel anger. You may feel scared.

Worst of all, you feel some embarrassment.

You are bogged down.


Now all of your energy is directed at getting your company unstuck instead of “planting your seeds.”

Your product’s progress has come to a halt.  So much more work needs to be done and the consequences are still there.  The deadline is still there.


Old Man Winter waits for no one


First, realize that this is a normal part of a product developer’s life; when you are taking risks, or doing something new.

Whether this is your first time or your fifth time, you must understand that this happens.

You must also realize that time-frames are not as short as they seem. There is still time to work things out. 

I myself have been bogged down many times, and that’s why I want to reach out and help.


Take time to step away from the “tractor”.  Look at how deep it is, what tools will you need, and determine if this is a good time to attempt to get it out.

Leave the area if you can, get some rest, clear your mind, and recharge your energy.

When you come back, revisit your goals, and remember what you are trying to achieve.

This is a good time to remind yourself of the accomplishments you’ve already gained.



You’ll be surprised how much more clarity you have when you clear that “bog mud” from yourself, and how much lighter things feel.

You will not be fully cleared of the bog until you get your company out of the rut, but remember that your positive focus towards your work will improve your performance.

You need to feel positive and confident, do the right thing at the right time, and get back on track sooner rather than later.

This will be easier to do and you’ll be more efficient when you are not stressed out.


Don’t lose track of your goals, and know that you can get through this.


In the next entry,  we offer some insights to help you figure out how you got Bogged Down in the first place.

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