Will Price, a principal with venture capital firm Hummer Winblad, has a very interesting post called Isolating Causality: Bad Market or Bad Company. Will identifies a series of factors that can help start-up companies and their investors tease out whether a company’s financial and performance problems are company-centric or instead the result of not having a viable market for its products or services. 

Being able to tell the difference is crucial. As Will points out, when the problem is the absence of a market, neither additional investment nor new management will solve the problem. Instead, these companies are likely to be sold, wound down, or have to file for bankruptcy.