Practical approaches to clustering use an iterative procedure (e.g. K-Means, EM) which converges to one of numerous local minima. It is known that these iterative techniques are especially sensitive to initial starting conditions. We present a procedure for computing a refined starting condition from a given initial one that is based on an efficient technique for estimating the modes of a distribution. The refined initial starting condition allows the iterative algorithm to converge to a “better” local minimum.